Garden Harvesting Tips and Tricks
October 11, 2018
August is one of the busiest times of the year for a gardener. Vegetables, fruits, flowers and of course weeds have grown and are ready to be pulled. In the Asheville area, squash varieties have been picked and eaten, peppers are ready to be picked, and tomatoes are ripe on the vine so that means it’s time to harvest! Check out a few of these recommendations to make your next day of harvesting just a tad bit easier.
Pick things at their peak
Aim for starting your harvest duties first thing in the morning. One reason being the outside temperatures are cooler and comfortable for working. The second reason is morning time is when plants are plump and the nutrients in the plants are dense.
Grow plants that come back after cutting
Harvesting leafy green vegetables is one of the easiest plants to harvest. After taking off a few leaves for salads, greens such as lettuce, collards, chard or spinach will grow more leaves for eating.
Have you ever went out to harvest one plant and stumbled on a zucchini the size of a football? With wet summers like we’ve had in Western North Carolina this year, it is easy for plants to get big quickly. Try to make an effort to check the garden a few times per week and harvest smaller sized plants before over ripening can occur. Once plants begin to over ripen, unwanted pests can take advantage and wreak havoc on the rest of the garden.
Prepare the workspace
Before trekking into the garden to harvest a day’s worth of beans or tomatoes, have all your tools ready. Make a list of all the tools needed for harvesting the specific plant and place on the side such as pruners, kneeling pad, buckets, and baskets. Inside, have your kitchen or prep space clean and organized by setting out canning jars, vacuum sealing bags or whatever your preferred method of processing is. Make sure to have plenty of storage space whether it be on a pantry shelf or in a freezer for safe keeping.
Brighten tools for easy spotting
Try painting small garden tools in bright colors so they are easy to find in a sea of green leaves or rows of dirt throughout the garden.
Each year is different when it comes to growing a garden and therefore harvesting routines change. By staying organized and persistent, anyone can have a successful day of collecting plants without breaking your back or giving in to the heat of the summer. All the efforts will be worth it in the winter when family members are gathered around the table eating canned green beans from the garden or applesauce made from the tree out back – you’ll be able to tell the story of how you did it all in a day’s work.