You can pick snap beans when they are young and serve them as baby snap beans, or you can wait until they have reached their full size to achieve a rich harvest. Do not tear the pods apart, but hold the stem with one hand and pick with the other. Use two hands to pick beans when the stalk breaks.
Pick every two days or so after the beans begin to wear to make sure they reach their full potential. A healthy bean bush on the plant blooms again and produces a second or third flower when the plants are happy.
Blanching or freezing is the easiest way to preserve snap beans. It brightens and fixes their color while preserving the crisp texture of the pods. Blanch the beans in boiling water for 1 minute and then cool with ice water.
Harvest snap beans early in the season when they are large enough to eat once they have filled the pods. When you pick snap beans at this stage, the seeds start to fill, making the pods look lumpy. Pick the beans early and keep them produced as long as possible.
Cantaloupe and Honeydew Melons
Melons ripen in a very short time. About 1% of melons will be ripe, while others will not be ripe for 3-4 weeks. Within about a week, they should be mature enough to minimize irrigation and prevent the vines from withering.
Too much water dilutes the sugar and of course the sweetness. Let the vine concentrate the sugar in the fruit.
The ripeness of cantaloupes can be judged by the colour of the stem. The bark of a cantaloupe will change from grey to green to yellow, and the reticular pattern will become more pronounced. The trunk will have cracks that appear to enclose the base of the stems.
Ripe cantaloupe develops a sweet, musky scent that becomes noticeable when sniffing the fruit. Ripe melons can easily slip off the vine.
Avoid pressing the flower ends when trying to measure maturity. Excessive pressing can lead to bruising and misinterpret maturity. Smooth-skinned melons turn cream when ripe, and the flowers at the ends give way when pressed.
Harvest honeydew that you do not want to use and leave about one centimetre of stalk hanging to prevent it from rotting. Keep melons in the fridge for up to a week.
Cantaloupe barks turn yellow when ripe. You can smell the sweetness of the cantaloupes directly from their bark.
It is hard to tell if an ear of corn is ready to harvest if you cannot see the skin. Corn should be brown and dry, with some fresh green at the base. When an ear appears ripe, check by peeling back the shells to expose a few inches of the ear. Poke the seeds with your fingernails. Press the shell to see if the ear feels bulging and not thin.
When the maize is ready to be harvested, it will bleed out a light milky juice that is like skimmed milk. The fluid should be clear, but the ear is not quite ready.
Ripe ears taste raw sweet. Ripe ears look milky like cream or skimmed milk, but taste starchy.
If possible, harvest corn in the morning after cooling the ears. Put the harvested ears in the refrigerator so that the sugar lasts until it is eaten. Extra sweet corn can be blanched and frozen on the cob. Remove the ears with one hand to hold the corn stalk, and with the other to pull the ear off the stalk, twisting a little when the ear breaks.
If you pick cucumbers, they are too big to use. Check the vine when the fruit begins to appear and the vine increases in size. It will bear more fruit than can be reaped.
Do not let them grow too big, as they can be bitter and prevent the vine from producing more. Pull them from damaged or fragile vines. Yellow soils and flowers at the ends of cucumbers signal overripe or bitter fruits. Overripe fruits are hard and the seeds difficult to chew. To remove the fruit, cut off the stem of the fruit with a knife or hair clipper.
Never leave overripe fruit on the vine after it has disappeared. Pickled cucumbers can be kept in the refrigerator for 7-10 days and used as soon as possible after harvesting. In fact, it is a good idea to wrap the whole cucumber in plastic and store it in a zipped bag in the fridge. Remember that store-bought cucumbers have wax to protect them from moisture loss. If you do not eat the sliced cucumber, cover the unused portion with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out in the refrigerator.
Keep them packed in a zippered plastic bag to keep them crisp. Harvest cucumbers when they are small and still have a good taste. Cut the cucumber from the vine when it is nicely dark green. Yellow is a sign of maturity and corruption.
Eggplant fruits taste bitter when picked ripe or overripe, but harvesting is an art of eggplant growers. Perfect fruit ceases to form a large shiny shell and shows a scattering of soft shapes of white, immature seeds when cut open. Use pruning or scissors to harvest aubergines from short stems or stems that are attached to the plant and cannot be torn off with the free hand. When the fruit is visible and the seeds are unripe, hard, dark seeds can be found on cracked eggplants.
A marinade containing salt, vinegar and lemon juice prevents sliced eggplant pieces from turning dark. Rinse thoroughly, pat dry and keep in the refrigerator for several days. If eggplants are discoloured when slicing, work quickly and cut into skewers for grilling.
Aubergines are shiny and colourfast. There are white and purple types. Their colour fades and loses its shine when they are ripe and bitter. The skin of the eggplant shines when ripe.
Pods will appear at the end of the season around the base of the plant, so you have to stand on your tiptoes or step ladder to harvest. Warm weather helps the pods grow, so check the plant every day until it starts production. Cut the pods every day or two, and they keep coming back. They will grow to full size in about 2 days. Okra can be cut and come back as a vegetable.
Pods are ideally 2 to 4 inches long, but they become tough and stringent if allowed to stay on the plant for too long. Cut the pods with a pruning shear into short trunks to which the stem is still attached. First, remove the large foods, as they prevent the plant from producing more. In warmer climates, summers with standard-sized plants 6 to 8 feet tall can last a long time. Some people itch when they come into contact with the stiff leaf hairs of okras, so you should wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when collecting your okras.
You can use a similar technique to rejuvenate dwarf okra varieties such as Red and Little Lucy by combining herbs and flowers in a spacious container. As is the case with many people, cut back a vigorous variety like Clemson or Spineless in late summer by cutting off about a third of its tip. The buds on the main stem grow back and produce a late harvest.
Do not let okra pods become too large or too tough. Choose any day or two. Okra pods should be picked when they are young and about the size of cardboard before they become too large.
Select the pepper to get its full size and color. Rinse pepper in water, pat dry and keep in the refrigerator.
If you’re not sure, check the varietal description on the “You Can Buy Here” tag on our website, www.peppers.com.
If you don’t know what kind of pepper you have, don’t fret. Most can be eaten at any stage. Red, yellow and orange bells begin to discolor. Many of the hottest peppers turn red and are best eaten green. Peppers have a long window of opportunity to be harvested because they hang on to the plant several days before ripening.
Once you find out, the first peppers will appear. Peppers, like most other vegetables, produce the most when you pick them, so don’t take advantage of their patience. Once the bell is ripe, it becomes sweeter. When the peppers are ripe and hot, they get hotter. Since peppers are easy to care for, they can be harvested at any time.
Peppers do not put pressure on the gardener to harvest early. Most of them will be sitting on the site for a while. When harvested, they will be color, size and type appropriate. If the peppers are left on the vine for too long, they become too hot.
When the fruit is ripe, it is fully coloured, the skin is hard and the stem begins to shrink and dry. When the vines are ripe, the pumpkin will be withered until the harvest. When a pumpkin is fully formed, you can put a piece of cardboard or folded newspaper over it to prevent contact with the earth and possible rot, but you will grow only a few of them. Pumpkin vines can be prickly, so you should wear gloves or long sleeves when harvesting to avoid itching. After harvesting, cut off the stem with a sharp knife and leave at least one centimetre of stem for the fruit. The more stalks there are, the better.
For storage, put the pumpkin in the sun for at least 2 weeks to harden the skin and seal the stem, which improves the taste. Never lift a pumpkin on the stem, as the stem breaks off and the pumpkin cannot store well. To raise the pumpkin, place your hand under the bottom of the pumpkin.
Store cured pumpkins in a cool place and arrange them so that they do not touch anything. Dry, warm weather is best, so protect them from frosty nights with an old blanket or put them in a shed or garage. Under ideal conditions, the cured pumpkin should be stored for 2 to 3 months. The ideal storage room is a temperature of 50 degrees and 60 percent humidity, which is the standard in most homes in the root cellar, but is best if you have a cellar, a vermin-free crawl room or other frost-free storage.
Drying out is one of the signs that a pumpkin is ready for harvest. Make sure that the stem of the pumpkin dries out. When the pumpkin is ripe, its color and skin become hard, and the stem begins to shrink and dry.
Sweet potatoes can be harvested at the end of May, when the vines turn yellow due to frost in the north. Harvesting after a frost or cool temperature reduces the quality of the potatoes and their ability to keep up. To avoid injuring the tubers at the base of the plant you want to dig, loosen the 18-inch-wide circle around the plant with a digging fork. To make it easier for you to dig, if the vines stand in your way, you can cut them off before digging. Pull off the crown and use your hands to collect your sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes need a period of sitting to show off their sweetness. Shake the ground and place unwashed sweet potatoes in a warm, well-ventilated place for at least 10 days. Do not wash after curing. If they are not sweet enough to deepen, they are good for sweetened cakes and casseroles. Shady tables in the rain work best.
After 10 days, take your cured tubers to a place that remains cool and dry, not in the refrigerator and store at 50 degrees. Rinse well after cooking and clean the sweet potatoes with a vegetable brush. Important: Fresh, uncured potatoes should not be baked. When sweet potatoes are cured, scratches on the skin heal and the flesh becomes sweeter and more nutritious. Cured sweet potatoes can be stored for up to 6 months at 60 degrees Celsius and high humidity in the cellar (ideal air-conditioned storage room) or in the pantry.
The best, sweetest sweet potatoes should be baked in aluminum as they are. Do not wrap in foil before cooking, as this will steam them. If you bake them wrapped up, they caramelize much better. The exact ripening signs vary depending on the variety, but generally ripe tomatoes show a deep color and feel firm but not hard when pressed. The difference between a hard peach and an avocado is that you start to soften.
When tomatoes begin to ripen, their color changes from a vibrant medium green to a lighter hue with faint pink and yellow stripes. Breakers are ripe green tomatoes that can be chopped for salsas, pickled, fried or crispy aperitif. The picture above is a stick tag that comes from the Bonnie variety and indicates the final ripe color. Tomato flavor becomes more complex when the fruit ripens, so you have a good reason to wait.
Store freshly picked tomatoes indoors at room temperature in a shady place. Never store tomatoes in the fridge above a temperature of 55 ° C as this will break down valuable flavours. Record harvests should be frozen or canned so they can be used later.
When ripe, tomatoes reach their full colour (red, yellow, green, pink or dark, depending on the variety). You can pick tomatoes that are a little green and ripen indoors, but they will get the most flavor if planted in color.
Watermelons ripen in about 2 weeks. About a week before the melons are ripe, water is needed to prevent the vines from wilting. When one melon is ripe, the other will not be.
Too much water can reduce sweetness. Retention of water can also lead to the concentration of sugar in the fruit too early and too much later.
You can judge the ripeness of a watermelon by the colour of its skin. The bark changes from a pale, dull green when the part touches the ground and changes from greenish-white to straw-yellow to rich, creamy yellow. Gardeners assess the ripeness of the watermelon with a rap on the skin and listen to a low roar.
Ripe fruits vibrate with a high, tinny sound. Tune your ears to wrong sounds when rapping, as only a few fruits are not ripe.
Place watermelons in a cool cellar to extend their holding time. They keep unchilled for 2-3 weeks. If you have extra melons at hand, dice and cut the flesh into balls and freeze as slushies. Cut the unused portions open and refrigerate. Gardening Harvest Guide To Summer Veggies