By Sommer Cartier.
One of the joys of summer is eating sweet, juicy, homegrown veggies picked right from your own backyard garden. Growing your own food enables you to harvest and savor your vegetables at the right time for optimum flavor, texture, and storage.
Following a few recommended best practices for harvesting from the garden will ensure you maintain a healthy garden that will continue to produce in abundance throughout the season. Then you can say goodbye to those flavorless generic tomatoes you find at the grocery store!
First, when harvesting your garden, ALWAYS use clean, sanitized tools. Garden tools can act like a vector and transfer diseases from one plant to the next. A convenient and effective method for sanitizing shears is to use sanitizing wipes, like Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes, on the blades between cuts.
Another important rule of thumb: bigger is not always better! Most summer veggies taste best when picked young. If left to fully ripen, plants begin to shift energy towards developing seeds and fruit becomes dry, bitter, or even woody. Picking your vegetables immediately upon ripening also encourages plants to produce more food.
Below is a Vegetable Harvest and Storage Guide for most commonly grown summer veggies. Follow these tips for a successful summer harvest, and keep in mind that this information can vary based on the variety and intended use.