Increasing Quality and Flavor of Vegetables
When deciding when crops are ready for harvesting in the garden that can be sometimes tricky. Many factors like various maturity dates, weather conditions or temperatures can cause a delay in harvesting these vegetable crops. Most crops have either a one-time harvesting or multiple harvesting times. When it comes to a one-time harvest that means that these crops are only harvested once and they do not continue to grow in the garden. While on the other hand, multiple harvestings mean that these crops can be picked more than once or more frequently due to their continuous growth in the vegetable garden.
On this week’s episode, Travis is discussing the techniques of harvesting vegetables with multiple harvesting times. When growing your own food you want to produce the best quality, flavor, and maximum production of those crops that you can grow in the garden. There are several crops that can be harvested one time or harvested multiple times in the garden. Some of those harvested one-time crops include watermelons, corn, winter squash, etc. However, some crops need to be harvested more frequently and have multiple harvesting times throughout the growing season. These crops include potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, eggplants, peppers, etc. It is important that the crops that need to be harvested more frequently are picked at their peak quality and are not left in the garden to get bigger. For example, Tempest Squash should be harvested once they reach about 5 or 6 inches long in size. This squash size offers the best flavor profile and is the perfect size to eat. However, if you continue to let tempest squash grow in the garden and it becomes too big and loses its flavor profile. Another example is zucchini, it should be harvested the same 5 or 6 inches long in size in order to get the best quality and flavor according to Travis. In order to harvest these vegetable crops at the highest quality or flavor profile, you should harvest them frequently from the garden. If you allow for the vegetables to get too big they can become pithy or spongy which can cause a decrease in flavor and quality. When it comes to harvesting cucumbers and squash, Travis likes to pick them at least every other day or sometimes every day. Sometimes when going through the garden you can miss one or two vegetables, but you can always harvest them in the next picking the next day. Harvesting okra is the same way as cucumbers and squash. The recommend size to harvest okra is once it reaches about the size of your pinky finger, but not larger than that. He explains that is the perfect size to pick for cooking okra. If you let them get bigger than the size of your pinky finger the skin can become too tough and they will lose flavor as well. Travis recommends harvesting crops like pepper or eggplant at least twice a week. He likes to harvest all of these regardless of the size they may be because they tend to have better quality. Harvesting so frequently will help ensure that the vegetables will not become too big and they stay on smaller size with better flavor and quality. Travis recommends keeping these frequent harvesting vegetables in mind when planting because you don’t need to plant so many that you cannot keep up with harvesting them all. So when picking those multiple harvest crops make sure to pick them early and smaller size to ensure you get the best quality and flavor prolific vegetables from the garden.