Making your Harvest a healthy one

HEALTHY ROOTS — Harvest time seems like it should be an exciting time for all gardeners. Unless and until the reality of keeping up with a tsunami of vegetables.

Here are some things you can do to keep up with your harvesting schedule and savour the fruits of your labour.

Take a basket out to the garden every day. On the plus side garden experts agree picking veggies as soon as they ripen encourages the plant to produce.

Know when to harvest what. Zucchini for example has the best flavour when they are no more than six inches long, after that they tend to get tough. If you do find mammoth zucchinis in the garden, grate it up and store batches in freezer bags for added healthy punches to chilli and spaghetti sauce.

Keep up appearances. While you are doing your daily garden run be sure to check for anything off like yellow leaves or rotten fruit. Removing those will make sure the energy your plants are putting out is going into all the right places.

Understand your tomatoes. The best advice is to only pick tomatoes when they easily release from the vine, and the best tasting tomatoes do ripen on the vine. If you pick one too soon don’t worry you can always leave it on the counter to ripen a bit more — or make fried green tomatoes!

Melons are tricky. Test ripeness of melons by thumping on the outside rind, listening for a dull, hollow sound. Or follow your nose — you’ll be able to smell cantaloupe that are fresh even before cutting into them. A great tip to keep the fruits fresh is to cut the stem rather than plucking it from the vine, which can crack the surface and encourage rot.

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