Choose right time to
harvest fruits, vegetables
THE fruit and vegetables in the kitchen garden are grown for varied reasons. The main reason is their freshness. The produce, however, has to be harvested when at its best.
Plucking fruits and vegetables that are immature or overripe may do more harm than good. A stomach upset or a sore throat are some of the common ailments caused by consumption of either overripe or immature fruit. It is very important that these fruits and vegetables should be plucked when they are at their prime. Care should be taken to harvest the produce in a way that the plant does not get affected. Removing the produce also affects the future produce.
Most of the time,
gardeners are misled by the colour break or development in fruit which
they think is ready to be plucked. A glaring example is the kinnow.
The kinnow starts turning yellow sometimes in October-November. On a
commercial level, contractors, in order to capture the market early
start harvesting it in November. Since the fruit is very juicy, it
finds favour with juice sellers. The result is that the unripe fruit
juice catches your throat. The best time to pick the kinnows is when
it attains proper size as an attractive shining colour and is actually
ready. This happens around- mid-January to mid-February. Similarly,
the grapefruit is ready in December-January. Sweetlime is the first
citrus fruit to be ready for consumption at the beginning of
Peas too should be harvested at the stage where they are edible and have attained maturity. You can know it by tasting a few pods. Overmature pods have hard peas. In case of the cauliflower, it should be harvested when it is compact and white. A delay could mean loosening of curd. Similarly the cabbage should be picked as soon as the heads reach good size and become hard. Care should be taken that while harvesting cauliflower, cabbage, broccolli etc. One does not leave stubs and remove the plant as a whole. The stub, thus left, becomes a breeding ground for insects and disease spores that can spoil other plants as well.