Yummerlicous basket of summer veggies grown near Mahanandi, a peaceful temple town in India. Indira and her Husband Vijay share the traditional recipes of their families. Brinjals, btw, are eggplants!
Each of your plants has special harvest needs and techniques to get continuing excellent returns!
- Be gentle in closely planted areas. Leaf damage opens your plant to diseases and pests. Breaking off new tender shoots stops that point of growth.
- Harvest when your plants are dry, before you water, to reduce disease spread.
Beets Pull when they are small and tender. Steam the leaves too.
Broccoli Though thought of as a winter crop, All Season brocs are perkin’ right along, prolific with side shoots! Keep them picked to keep them coming. Get them to the fridge ASAP because they wilt fast.
Cantaloupe is ready when it ‘slips’ from the plant – no pulling, it just comes off in your hand.
Corn is ripe when the silks turn crispy brown, and the juice is white when you pierce a kernel with your finger nail. Corn pretty much comes in all at once. Get ready to feast, invite friends! Corn turns starchy immediately, so get it to the fridge, or into that boiling water ASAP! Cut the kernels off the cob to sprinkle over salads, freeze for winter stews.
Carrots Poke around with your finger to see if the shoulder, the top of the carrot, is the size you want. Loosen the soil with a spade fork if necessary, pull, rinse, eat! I mean take them home to share with your family! If they are hairy and forked, your soil was too rich. If the shoulders are green, they needed to have been covered with soil.
Cucumbers! Harvest at will. Your choice, but big ones can be seedy. And if you wait too long, the plant thinks it’s done and stops producing. Harvesting smaller is better. Keep your cucs well watered – they make a watery fruit. Pickle some! Grow dill beside them to be ready for pickling.
Eggplant, Aubergine. Shiny. When they are shiny and they don’t spring back when you press them. The more you clip, the more you get. Another no-store-on-the-plant!
Green Beans Or any kind of bean! Pick, pick, pick, carefully so as not to damage your plant, to keep them coming! Pick when the leaves are dry, so you don’t spread diseases, and before the pods get bumpy.
Lettuces Crisp summer lettuce salads hit the spot! Pick the leaves last, just before you head for the fridge. Keep taking the lower leaves. If your plant starts to bolt (grow upward), take the whole plant right away unless you want it to seed for you, otherwise, it’s compost.
Peppers! When they are big and they’ve got that great pepper shape! Peppers have a specific number they reach and they won’t make any more until you pick some!
Radish Keep them well watered for fast growth, pull before they split. They are usually a bit hotter in summer.
Summer Squash (zucchini, crookneck, etc.) Cut them off at your preference, but when it’s hot, keep a watch under those leaves! Giant squash sap the strength from your plant and keep younger fruit from developing. Harvest small for salad slices. When you find a giant hiding, use it for stuffing and baking. If you are getting too many, pick the blossoms off to slow them down; eat the blossoms!
See ALL about SQUASH at On The Green Farms!
Tomatoes! Red on the vine, before the bugs, birds or mice get them.
Watermelon When the tendrils start to dry and the bottom of the melon turns creamy color. If it makes a dull sound when you thump it, it’s overripe.
SEEDS! Seeds are another kind of harvest! Let your best plants flower and seed. Collect those seeds for planting next year! But not the seeds of hybrids or corn unless your corn in no way can hybridize with anyone else’s corn!
Preserve! If you have a great abundance, start preserving! Dry, freeze, can!
Share! Have extra tomatoes, beans, cukes, zuchs, and you don’t have time or inclination to preserve?! Share your abundance! Here’s how!
- Give to Pilgrim Terrace residents! Take your veggies to the office 8 AM to 5 PM (Modoc/Portesuello). They watch the garden for us, so it’s good payback! The elders really appreciate fresh veggies and herbs!
- Santa Barbara County’s Foodbank Drop off M-F 7 AM – 3:30 PM at 4554 Hollister Av.
- Share at weekend Neighborhood Food Exchanges! Dates and locations
Thanks for your generosity when so many really need your kindness. Just a quick stop among your errands….