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Sunday, July 21, 2024 at 1:19 PM

Edith on Veggies -- pick them at their peak

Edith on Veggies -- pick them at their peak
by Edith Isidoro-Mills -- Many warm season vegetables such as squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, and sweet corn have either started ripening in Churchill County or will ripen in the next couple of weeks.  Selecting varieties, planting, watering, fertilizing, and weeding are all important to producing tasty, nutritious vegetables but if not harvested and stored properly home grown produce can be of inferior quality compared to store bought. In our modern times with people commuting long distances to work and supermarkets with extensive produce sections, vegetable gardening isn’t necessary.  Most people raise vegetable gardens because of the superior flavor that can be achieved from freshly harvested vegetables.  However, if not harvested at just the right stage of maturity garden produce can be woody, seedy, bitter, mushy, or just plain flavorless.  The following are a couple of links to sites with tables and lists of vegetables and a guide of what to look for when determining when vegetables are ready to eat; https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/2004/7-23-2004/vegguide.html  and  https://harvesttotable.com/vegetable_harvest_times/ . Harvesting vegetables at the proper stage of maturity can also increase yield because if vegetables such as cucumbers or summer squash are left on the vine too long not only do they become seedy but the plants stop producing because they’re expending energy producing seeds that would otherwise go toward more vegetables. Ripeness isn’t the only consideration when it comes to harvesting produce; the time of day is also a factor that can affect quality.  If you plan to harvest more than what you can immediately eat it should be harvested during the cool morning hours. Once harvested, proper storage is important to preserve the flavor of homegrown vegetables and not all vegetables have the same storage requirements.  The University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension has webpage telling how different vegetables should be stored. The storage information in this publication is based on storage of unblemished vegetables.   Insect damage and mechanical injuries to vegetables can shorten their storage life.  Also if unblemished vegetables are stored with blemished ones the storage life of the unblemished vegetables is shortened.  Blemished vegetables are best eaten immediately after harvested with the blemished portion trimmed out.     Sign up to receive updates and the Friday File email notices. Support local, independent news – contribute to The Fallon Post, your non-profit (501c3) online news source for all things Fallon.

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