As summer is coming to an end, we need to harvest our summer vegetables and get our garden ready for the colder autumn and winter months. Dr. Willard’s® is your go-to guide for growing the freshest, healthiest and most abundant crops with our signature product, PlantCatalyst®, created just for farmers and growers around the world. Read on to find out how we can help you in your garden, all season long.
Harvesting Summer Vegetables
Summertime provides the best vegetables throughout the year. You can eat them right away or save them to be used later on.
Beans can be served in two ways; as snap beans if you pick them right away, or as regular beans if you wait until they mature to full size. Picking beans requires finesse; since the stems are delicate and break easily, you should use two hands – one to hold the stem and the other to pick the beans with. The great thing about bean plants is that they tend to produce more and more beans, so pick ripe beans quickly so the plant has a chance to grow more.
Preserve beans by blanching them in boiling water for one minute and then dip them in ice water.
To harvest cucumbers, use clippers or a sharp knife, and make sure not to pull the fruit lest you damage the vines; instead, cut the part of the stem right above the cucumber. The cucumber fruits grow large quickly, so it’s important to pick them so that the vine has enough time to produce more fruit. Another reason to harvest the cucumbers when they are the appropriate size is that letting them get too big makes them bitter and hard to chew because the seeds harden. If you notice your cucumbers having a blossom end, meaning their ends turned yellow, pick and discard them as they are too ripe to eat.
If you don’t eat the cucumbers right away, they can be left in the fridge for up to 10 days. Keep your cucumbers wrapped in paper towels or zipper bags to prevent them from dehydrating.
It’s important to harvest an eggplant at just the right time, as too early or too late will result in bitter fruit. To know when to pick an eggplant, observe it daily to make sure it has stopped getting bigger and developed glossy skin. If you slice the eggplant open and it has no seeds, it has not matured; on the other hand, dark and hard seeds means it is overripe.
To harvest the eggplant, use pruning shears and leave a little part of the stem attached. You can store clean and dry eggplant in the fridge for a few days.
How to Prepare a Summer Garden for Colder Months
As the summer is coming to an end, it is time to start prepping the garden for off-season months. To know when it’s time to do so, check your turf to make sure it has turned green and your annuals have faded, according to colostate.edu.
Leave your root crops for now, as they harvest best in the cooler months. Start by pulling up all the warm-season plants and vines that are no longer producing fruit, like tomato plants. You need to get them out so that any eggs that pests may have laid over the summer don’t hatch in your garden in the spring. Remember not to compost any diseased plants.
Use a garden fork to mix useful nutrients, such as compost, leaves and manure, to create good soil structure and help the soil retain useful nutrients and a neutral pH level, as well as help defend itself against common diseases. Although you can add these materials anytime throughout the year, if you do it before the soil freezes, they will remain there into the spring when the ground thaws.
Add PlantCatalyst® to Your Winter Crops
If you plan to grow cool-season fruits or vegetables, remember to add PlantCatalyst® to your crops. Using this FDA-approved formula helps you cut down on traditional fertilizers without compromising yield; in fact, just a small amount of PlantCatalyst® added to half the amount of fertilizer you typically use has actually been proven to increase yield. The best part is that this product is made with all natural ingredients and contains no harmful toxins. The benefits that PlantCatalyst® offers are:
- Increased germination rates and strength out of germination
- Faster growing times
- More yield and overall production
- Savings on using fertilizers
What are your favorite summer vegetables that you have harvested? Share with us on social media!