Harvesting: The Big Day
Excerpted from The New Canadian Garden, 2016, Mark Cullen. All rights reserved. Published by Dundurn Press.
It’s the moment every vegetable gardener waits for: the first ripe tomato, brilliant orange (or purple) carrot, or shiny green pepper, ready for the picking. Most of this part is easy as pie, but there are a few things to remember.
Use the seed packages and the date you planted to give you a good idea of when the goods should be ready. These are just an estimation based on average temperatures, but they will certainly set you on the right track. Every crop is different when it comes to harvesting. Some can be left and they will remain unchanged for several weeks, while others will bolt, grow far too large, or become chalky and flavourless. The following is a simple guide to harvesting the 20 vegetables we’ve been working with throughout this chapter. You will notice that I have given some large ranges under the “What the Package Says” column and there’s good reason for that: fast-growing varieties are available (resulting in the shorter time). The growing season in most of Canada is short compared to the warmer climates south of here, and fall and spring are unpredictable, with cold snaps and frosts a definite possibility during these months. Choose crops that have fewer days to maturity to ensure success.
Read more in my new book ‘The New Canadian Garden’ available at independent book stores and Home Hardware.