Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How to Harvest Vegetables at the Peak of Their Freshness

Wazzup Pilipinas!

How will you know if your fruits and vegetables had already reached their peak freshness? How will you know if they are ready for harvesting? The science of freshness is easy to understand. Fruits and veggies thrive because of oxygen, with the root as the main oxygen resource.

In keeping the freshness of the produce, proper harvesting and storing techniques must be employed. Here’s how.

1) Visit your garden regularly

Make it a habit to visit your plants during harvest time especially if you have huge veggie gardens. Be aware of what is happening to your plants as they mature and become ready for picking. Drastic changes are inevitable – a half-ripe tomato today may be rotten tomorrow or the day after that.

Tread carefully while walking the garden or farm aisles. Don’t walk near the root zones. Compressing the roots and soil can make it difficult for the water, nutrients and air to work up their way to the vegetables themselves.

Don’t trample on the vines as well. Stepping onto the sprawling vines limit growth of the budding veggies. The process also limits future growth which, in turn, limits the yield volume.

2) Remove damaged foliage and veggie fruits

Cutoff leaves, stalks and veggie fruits that show obvious signs of damage, so the plants will grow stronger. Specifically, the damaged veggie fruits will rot even before they ripen. You are doing your plants big favor. Rot will not spread, and the damaged vegetables will not rob other parts of the plant of water and nutrients.

While doing this, remove foliage especially those that are already yellowish in color. This can keep the damage to a minimum as damage will no longer spread to the healthier parts of the plants.

3) Harvest at the proper time

Picking vegetables at the right times ensure optimal sweetness and flavor. Majority of the veggies should be harvested in the morning when the veggies are still crisp and moist.

Further, crops are stress-free during the morning. Perhaps, you’ve witnessed the leaves wilting in the mid-afternoon. This is due to environment-caused stress. Vegetable wilts, too, succumbing to the heat of the day leading to less-moist and less-crisp crops.

So, pick the veggies in the morning, perhaps around 5 to 6 am. If early morning harvesting is not possible, consider harvesting later in the evening when the crops had already recovered from wilting.

4) Harvest produce regularly

Keep picking vegetables early and often. The process can keep the plants in the reproduction stage longer thereby increasing yields. As soon as the vegetable fruit ripens, pick them. Too much ripened fruits on the vines signal the plant to stop producing new blooms. The plant will be encouraged to produce more blooms if you harvest ripe fruits in time.

Moreover, don’t wait for the vegetables to become too old or too big before you harvest them. This can only lead to tough yields, which are not good to eat. Also, you cannot expect the veggie fruits to grow as big as those you see in groceries. They won’t be.

What the veggies lack in size will be compensated by its rich, natural flavor. It is more than enough to know what goes into your veggies.

In sum, the secret to enjoying fresh, organic produce is knowing when is the right time to harvest. Each vegetable has distinct needs for water, air and nutrients. Nonetheless, all veggies give out certain signs whether they are ready for picking or not for optimal flavor and nutrition. It is up to you to sleuth out these signs.

About Author : Justin is a Filipino blogger and a freelance writer. Love to read books, watch movies and and do bird watching in Philippines.

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