October 3, 2015

Young Girls Working In Vegetable GardenThe weather changes quickly in Ann Arbor MI, and it does not give much warning to the purveyors who love gardening and farming when it is going to change. Therefore, it is necessary to keep an eye on the progress of a garden throughout the season so that the vegetables and fruits are being harvested at their peak ripeness. The following tips and tricks will help you when harvesting your garden’s crops at the perfect time this fall.

Why does it matter when I pick my crops?
Harvesting crops at their peak of ripeness will deliver the best flavor and the most nutrients possible from the foods that you work so hard to grow. Picking foods that are under ripe or over ripe may result in a waste of food.

What are the signs that I need to pick my crops?
As the season progresses in Ann Arbor MI, many types of produce can be harvested. Look for the signs listed below for picking produce at it’s best when you are gardening.

  • Beans-Snap and Lima-Pick beans before full maturity when they are still young. Remove old pods to encourage new growth during the season.
  • Beets-Harvest these when the tops are adequate for cooking or when the beet is the desired size (between an inch and two inches)
  • Broccoli-Trim when head is five to eight inches across but still in a tight bud.
  • Cabbage-Cut when heads are firm, before splitting.
  • Carrots-This vegetable can be harvested at any time during the growing season.
  • Cauliflower-Tie up the leaves of this vegetable when the heads are young, and harvest when the heads are the desired size.
  • Swiss Chard-Continually cut leaves off of the outer portion of this plant for continual harvesting throughout the season and up until the frost.
  • Cucumbers-Picking old fruit off of the vine is essential to continual growth of cucumbers. Harvest when the fruit has reached the desired size, but before they begin to turn from dark green to a lighter shade.
  • Kale-This green can be harvested by the leaf or by the bunch. Harvesting after frost may help to cut back on the bitterness of this green.
  • Kohlrabi-Harvest when the stem becomes the diameter of two to three inches.
  • Leeks-At the end of the season, leeks need to have the soil mounded around the plants to bleach them. This vegetable is to be harvested in the fall or the following spring.
  • Muskmelon-This ripe fruit will tell you when it is ready to be harvested. Fully ripened fruit will naturally fall from the vine when it is mature.
  • Parsnip-This root vegetable is to be left in the ground and harvested as needed over the wintering months.
  • Peas-Pick peas before their peak size potential. They can be harvested from early to late stages of growth.
  • Radish-This garnishment can be harvested throughout the season.
  • Spinach-This deep green leafy vegetable can be harvested from the first few leaves until before the development of seed stalks.
  • Squash-Pick this vegetable as it becomes ripe. Keep all dead and old squash off of the vine for plant health.

Knowing when to harvest a garden is sometimes a hit or miss situation. When doing your gardening in Ann Arbor MI, it is important to know when to save your produce from the throws of winter. Following these simple tips will ensure that you have a healthy and hearty harvest from your garden this year.

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