Guidelines for Summer Harvest
The height of summer is upon us and so is the height of the summer harvest. This week alone we picked about a pound of basil, 3 pounds of cucumbers, 5 pounds of squash, 5 pounds of tomatoes, 2 watermelons totaling about 30 pounds, and 65 ears of corn. One trombone zucchini was NOT picked in order to see how big it gets. At this size it is no longer edible but it will keep for some time as a decorative gourd.
Some guidelines you should follow for harvesting your summer produce:
Corn – Silks begin to turn brown and dry out as the corn cob matures, approximately 3 weeks after first appearing. You can check a few ears for maturity by peeling back the tops and pressing the top kernels with your thumbnail. If the liquid exuded is milky rather than clear the corn is ready to be picked.
Cucumbers – Harvest when fruits are a deep green color before any yellowing appears. Pick the fruits regularly to encourage more fruiting. Mature cucumbers left on the vine will signal the plant to stop producing.
Squash – Same as cucumbers, harvest often to encourage production.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes are best when ripened on the vine. Harvest when the fruits are uniformly red (or yellow, purple, etc.) The fruits should be beginning to lose their firmness just slightly soft.
Watermelon – Watermelons will be nearing maturity when the tendril across from the fruit turns brown and dry. Look for a yellowing underneath where the watermelon touches the ground and for the surface color to turn from shiny to dull.