As summer winds down and we start to get back to a new, quarantine-era version of our school/work fall routine, we’re excited to be harvesting our vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers in the gardens we’ve sowed and tended all summer.
Our founder and head designer, Lisa, gets most of her inspiration for design from her time in the garden, studying the color palettes of flowers, the leaf designs of specific plants, even the sculptural quality of tendrils of squash growing up her trellis.
Lisa’s favorite Recipe of the Summer:
Watermelon and Arugula Salad-https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/watermelon-arugula-salad
Here are some of Lisa’s tips for popular vegetables in her zone 6 garden, and how to harvest them.
Summer Vegetables (July/Aug harvest):
Tomatoes: cut or snap the tomato from the stem after they change color and become slightly soft to the touch. If you pick them while they are still hard, they have not ripened.
Blackberries: pick berries that are fully black only. The berries are plump yet firm to the touch, a deep black color, and pull freely from the plant without a yank. When picking, keep the central plug within the fruit (unlike raspberries). Fact: berries do not ripen after being picked.
- Raspberries, if you planted your raspberry bush this year, it will not produce berries until it’s second season. When harvesting simply pluck the berries off the vine, ripe berries will leave the vine with ease.
Squash, Use a garden pruner or sharp knife to cut the fruit away from the vine. By leaving a short stem on the squash it will extend it’s storage life. Don’t tug or pull squash from the vine.
- Herbs (basil, dill, cilantro, parsley, thyme). Use scissors to clip off the stems cleanly. Discard any moldy, diseased, or insect damaged parts. If you plan on using your herbs later here are a few simple ways to dry your herbs:
- Hang and Air Dry Herbs: This is the easiest method and the simplest for herbs with stems. Tie the stems into a small bunch and hang them upside down in a dry, warm, dust-free, and airy place out of direct sunlight.
Use a Food Dehydrator: Moisture in the air can prevent herbs from drying naturally. So you can use a food dehydrator to speed up the process.
- Celery, Cut stalks at the base of the plant when they are firm and glossy, 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) long. Leaves are edible.
- Carrots, Gently pull carrots from the soil when they are ½ to 1 inch (1 to 2.5 cm) in diameter. Place your finger in the soil to check for size. Tops are edible.
- Malaise Spinach,Pinch leaves off at stem when they are the size of your palm or smaller. Small leaves will have the best flavor. Leaves will grow back in 2 to 3 weeks.
- Daikon Radishes, during harvesting, radish tops can break off easily. Use a digging fork to gently lift and loosen the soil around the radishes, then gently pull on the tops as close to the ground as possible.
- Mizuna, harvest all of the leaves from a single plant about one inch above the soil and the leaves will regrow for a second harvest. Mizuna is used in stir-fries, soups, and other cooking.
- Purple Mustard, similar to lettuce, simply snap off the outermost leaves with your thumb and forefinger, leaving the center growing point intact. Allowing the plant to regrow and ready for a second harvest.
- Cauliflower, Cut the head at the base when florets are firm, tight, and compact, before they open up and start to flower. White varieties should be white, purple varieties purple.
- Broccoli, Cut broccoli from the stem 2 to 3-inches (5 to 7.5 cm) below the heads when florets are dark green/blue and are tight and compact, before they open up. Leaves are edible. side shoots may grow new heads.
- Radicchio, harvest heads when they are firm to touch, this is usually about 60 days after planting. You can also harvest individual leaves, if you don’t plan to use all the radicchio at once. Food Recipes: radicchio makes a great substitute for salad greens.
- Escarole can be harvested when leaves are 5 to 6 inches tall, about 85 to 100 days after planting. Like many other leafy greens simply, cut off the plant just above soil level, allowing for regrowth and a second harvest.