This is one of my favourite times of the year, because the vegetable garden is in full swing.
There is nothing tastier than picking vegetables from the garden, preparing them and eating them all within minutes. Here are a few gardening tips that should help you enjoy your harvest.
To keep cauliflower curds white, cover the head by breaking a few of the large outside leaves over the head and this will prevent the sun from yellowing the curds. Cauliflower is harvested when the head is solid and firm and before the curds start to separate.
Broccoli should be harvested when the buds are still tight and have not yet opened. If left too long, the buds will open up to a yellow flower. To harvest broccoli, cut 4-6 inches below the central head and the plant will produce side shoots that can also be eaten.
Thinning out root crops such as carrots and beets will allow the remaining ones to grow larger. The young plants that have been thinned out make delicious snacks and meals as well so don’t throw them out.
Tomato plants can be trimmed back by removing non productive stems and removing any new flowers. By doing this, the plant will put is energy into the tomatoes already on the plant, allowing them to grow and ripen on the vine.
Before picking corn, you want to make sure it is ripe. The silks should be brown and the cob should look filled. Slightly pull back a few of the green leaves from the cob and puncture one of the kernels about 5 cm from the tip of the cob. If there is a milky liquid, the corn is ready to harvest. A clear liquid means that it is not ripe and a thick liquid, or no liquid means it is over ripe. Corn is sweetest in the first 24 hours after having been picked because after 24 hours, the sugar begins to turn to starch so it is best to pick the corn and eat it right away.
Green beans or snap beans are best picked before the seeds inside the bean begin to swell and mature. The bean should snap when you break it. Never pick beans when the plant is wet as this ca cause damage to the plant, so wait until the dew has dried and do not pick on a rainy day.
it is still too early in the season to harvest vegetables for winter storage. Potatoes should die back naturally and then form a thick skin before harvest. Onion tops will begin to fall in the next few weeks meaning that they have matured and will be ready to be pulled. Root crops such as carrots, beets and parsnips are better left in the ground until October (depending on temperatures) before being harvested.
Jos Van Hage own and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:
- Highway 16 West at Kimball road
- Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road ( closed for the season)