Summer is a rewarding time in the garden as you reap the rewards of your spring planting efforts with a variety of summer crops ready to harvest and enjoy from your garden! Check out our top tips for your favourite crops to make the most of summer's bounty.
The best times to harvest your crops are in the morning or evening when it is cooler, or on days when the temperatures are below 20 degrees.
Top summer veges harvests
Beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, capsicums, carrots, celery, chillies, courgettes, cucumbers, garlic, leeks, lettuce, mesclun, onions, peas, potatoes, silverbeet, spring onions, sweetcorn, tomatoes.
- Harvest your veges regularly, this helps promote more growth throughout the season.
- Your veges are ready to harvest when they are about the size you see them in the supermarket.
- Leafy salad greens can be harvested a leaf at a time, rather than the whole plant – so you can pick as you need.
- Harvest garlic without delay in January - at this stage in summer the bulbs won't become fatter. Garlic is ready to harvest once the tops start to die back. Don’t be tempted to pull the bulbs out by the leaves, dig up with a fork and leave to dry on the top of the ground for a week or so, then plait and store somewhere dry and away from direct sunlight. Keep a few good heads of your own garlic to use as the stock of next year’s crop.
- As soon as potatoes have been dug, dry thoroughly and store in a cool, dark, well ventilated position. Carefully stored potatoes should last for up to six months.
- Pick beans before the pods turn lumpy and stringy.
- Give your veges a boost with Tui Vegetable Food to encourage more healthy growth.
Flavoursome summer fruits
Apples, apricots, avocados, boysenberries, cherries, figs, grapefruit, lemons, mandarins, oranges, peaches, pears, plums.
- Harvest fruit regularly to get the most from your crop.
- Pears and apples are best left to fully ripen on the trees, whereas stone fruit will continue to ripen if picked once the ripening process has begun on the tree. Once there is some ‘give’ in the fruit and it begins to soften it can be picked and laid flat in trays or boxes to ripen fully. To slow down the ripening process, store fruit in the fridge, but remember to bring it to room temperature before eating, it just tastes so much better.
- Strawberries - the more you pick the more they will grow - what a bonus!
- Pick fruit like plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots, pears and berries when the fruit is dry. If it is a little damp; allow the fruit to dry out fully before storing in the fridge or elsewhere. Moist fruit can cause mildew and rot to begin.
- After harvest reward your fruit trees with an application of Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser and a new layer of Tui Mulch & Feed or thick layer of Tui Super Sheep Pellets. This will promote new growth and stimulate flower buds for next season’s fruit.
- Apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic every 2-4 weeks to help prevent transplant shock, promote strong growth and keep your garden thriving.
Photo credit: Aliscia, Otago.