How to Harvest Summer Veggies

Fall is the perfect time to create new space for new growth. As the summer season is ending, this is a fantastic time to harvest what you have grown all summer long. If you’re interested in more information about great crops for the fall season, this article has some great ideas.  

Just like any other garden task, harvesting is detailed, but not difficult. When done right, it’s an activity that everyone in your family can participate in and enjoy.

After the hard work of growing your crops successfully, you need to ensure you harvest them properly. Be sure you collect them at the right time, for peak flavor and optimal storage. 

If you are completely new to gardening, Getting Your Garden Started offers some helpful information on how to get your project going, whether it includes flowers or veggies.

Here are some great tips on how and when to harvest some of the most popular summer vegetables. 

Green beans

 The best time to harvest green beans is when they are yet to fully mature. That is, once the seeds begin to fill the pod before the seeds appear lumpy in the pod. The green beans are tender and tastier if they are out of the pod while faintly velvet.

You need to pick the beans continuously, as the plant is likely to produce more pod if you continually pick the existing ones. This is great news if you are a green bean lover, as the plant will become a “gift that keeps on giving” so long as you are harvesting regularly.

Summer squash

The best time to harvest summer squash is when they are firm, but not yet hard. Pick them while you can still pierce them with your thumbnail.

Also, ensure that they have developed a deep, rich color. Do not forget that summer squash is continuously productive. Therefore, if you want to slow the production down, pick both the male and female buds. 

Tomatoes

 The most critical thing to do when picking tomatoes is to ensure you preserve the flavor. You do not want to have sour tomatoes after a hardy growing season, just because you picked them too soon. Before you pick tomatoes, ensure they have smooth skin that is glossy and fully colored, and that they are neither too hard nor too soft.

Even if the stem is yet to fully develop to full coloration, you can still start harvesting if you plan to let the plants ripen after picking them. To avoid confusion, you need to know the color variations among your tomato plants.

You can still pick tomatoes off the vine before they are fully developed, and allow them to ripen on the countertop or windowsill. If you do so, just observe the lower end of the fruit, that where the color will begin to change.

Peppers

Peppers are the simplest veggies to harvest- you just pick them once they get to the size you want. Once the fruits are well formed, they are ready to be harvested. The secret is to pick them early, as doing so will increase their yield.

Pepper plants have a yielding limit, meaning they cannot bear more fruits than they can support. Therefore, for the new blossoms to begin formation, you need to pick the already formed ones.

Broccoli

Many people aren’t sure how to determine when broccoli is ready for harvest. The best thing to monitor is the broccoli florets, rather than the overall size.

Before you harvest, ensure that the florets are bulging and relaxed. As you collect, do not pull them off the head directly. Instead, cut along the stem to create a space for fresh autumn vegetables.

Conclusion

If you’ve got a summer yield that you’re ready to harvest as fall sets in, make sure you are taking the right precautions to guarantee you’re picking your veggies at the very best time. Making the right decisions about how and when to harvest your plants can make all the difference regarding the taste, quality, and amount of produce your well-tended plants will offer your dinner table! 

Click here for a free online quote from Lawn Service Fort Worth, for help with any and all of your lawn care projects.

 

Getting Your Garden Started

If you have never been into gardening before, you could be unsure where to start. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that you can take to do this successfully.

Choose The Right Site

When you start your garden, location is just as important as when you buy real estate. You need to put your garden in a part of your yard where you can see it regularly. Out of sight will be out of mind and this is not something that you want. When you choose the right spot, you will be more likely to spend time in the garden.

Follow The Sun

When you are first learning to garden, you can easily misjudge the sunlight. You need to take the time and pay attention to where the sunlight is in your yard before you choose a spot for the garden. Most of the edible plants you want such as herbs, vegetables, and fruits will need at least 6 hours of sunlight to thrive.

Stay Close To The Water

One of the best tips for gardening is to plan your new garden close to a source of water. You need to ensure that you can run your hose to the garden and that you will not have to carry water to the plants each time you need to water them. One of the best ways to tell if your plants need more water is to push your finger into the soil to your first knuckle. If the soil is dry, you will need to water the plants.

Choose the Right Plants

The right plants and flowers will depend on so many variables. A garden that works well for cherry blossoms for instance, may not be ideal for morning glories. You can get the details now on Gardener’s Path if they’re something you wish to grow.

Start With Good Soil

When you start a garden, you need to invest in good soil which is well-drained and rich in nutrients. You can get this blend by putting around 3 inches of all-purpose garden soil into the existing soil. If you are not planting directly into the ground and will use a raised bed, you should use soil made for raised beds. This will have the best texture and weight for these beds.

Consider Containers

If you have limited space, you need to look at containers. It is possible to grow plants such as flowers, herbs, vegetables, shrubs and berries in pots. When you use a container, you need to ensure that it is large enough for the plants and you need to fill it with the right potting mix. Potting mix will be specially formulated to help the plants in pots thrive and it will help you prevent over or under-watering.

The Growing Conditions

When you choose plants, you need to match them with your growing conditions. This means that you need to place plants that love the sun in sunny spots. If you are in a warmer climate, you should choose heat-tolerant plants and give any ground eating vines like melons and pumpkins enough room or a trellis to grow. It is important that you do your homework and choose the plants that will grow and thrive in your space. If you want to get a step up on garden success, you should start with some vigorous young plants instead of growing from seed.

Know Your Zone

When you choose the best plants, you need to know what your hardiness zone is. This will be the coldest place that a plant can grow. The higher the zone number, the warmer the climate will be. This means that a plant which is hardy to zone 4 and you live in zone 5, the plant will survive. However, if you are in zone 3, it will be too cold and the plant will have a hard time thriving.

Learn Frost Dates

When you plant too early or late in the season, it can spell disaster for the garden. To avoid this, you need to know when the last average spring frost will happen for your area. This will stop you from accidentally killing your plants by putting them out too early. You should also know when the first average fall frost comes to know when to move your plants indoors or harvest them before the cold damages them.

Add Mulch

You should apply around 2 to 3 inches of mulch to each plant. This will reduce the weeds coming through and the moisture that is lost. There are many types of mulch that provide you with a polished look. You can also put down shredded leaves, straw, and other locally available materials.

List of Full Sun Flowers for Pots

pentas flowers closeup

To grow flowers in full sun, particularly within pots is not that easy unless you choose to grow varieties that can withstand these harsh conditions. Flowers that can do well in full sun can also withstand extreme heat and drought, therefore they can be grown in pots too.

The following flowers can withstand the tropical heat and can grow in full sun. They are also so lovely and are common to find. They include:

lantana full sun potted plants

Lantana

This a very common tropical flower that grows throughout the year. You can find it in a variety of color shades such as red, yellow, orange, and many more. It thrives in isolation and can withstand extreme heat. It becomes better in the afternoon when there is more sun. It can only be possible as an annual flower and only in mild climates

pentas full sun potted plants

Pentas

These flowers are so beautiful and they have sweet smelling nectar which makes them look so attractive to bees, hummingbirds, and sunbirds. Pentas are tough and they withstand extreme heat which makes it possible for them to grow in pots. It is a tropical flower which can be grown in USDA Zones 9-11 as a perennial flower and as an annual flower below those zones.

 

hibiscus flowers full sun

Hibiscus

This is one of the most common flowering plants which is so easy to maintain, can be grown in pots, and can be available in a variety of color shades for both temperate and tropical climates. Tropical hibiscus can withstand a temperature of 100 F and more.

 

 

Portulaca

This is an amazing needle-like plant with small brightly colored flowers which can be grown in a pot, and in hanging baskets and it does well in tropic and temperate zones. They are tough and they can withstand extreme heat and drought.

Moonflower

It offers a thrilling display of very large and pure white flowers with fragrance and has a close resemblance to morning glory. This large vine can be grown in a large pot.t produces flowers throughout the year in subtropical heat, and it can be grown as an annual in temperate regions. Moonflower plant can grow up to a height of 6-15 feet in a season.

plumbago full sun potted plants

Plumbago

Plumbago is a beautiful vine which is an African native shrub. This African native shrub which does well in minimal care and in extreme heat has sky blue flowers that appear almost throughout the year if it’s grown in the right conditions.