There are four signs which tell if Victoria Plums are ready to pick:
- Twist the plum gently off the stem. The plum is ripe when it comes off easily. Plums usually leave their stalk on the tree.
- The colour of the plum changes when they are ripe. The skin becomes reddy-pink on one side & yellowy on the other.
The plum on the left of the picture is not quite ripe. It is greener than the plum on the left which has turned more yellowy as it has ripened.
- Cutting a plum open will reveal the stone & show if it is loose inside the plum. This a a photo of the yellowy plum above after it was cut open. The stone was quite loose and fell out
ripe plum with loose stone
If the stone is still firmly attached to the flesh and difficult to separate, the plum is not ripe. The photo below is of the green plum in the picture above. The stone would not come away from the flesh.
unripe plum cut
- Gently squeezing the plum will tell if they are still hard. If they are softening a bit, then they are ripe.
Victoria plums do not all ripen at once, so they are not all ready to pick at the same time & the tree is usually picked several times.
Raspberries are picked by pulling them gently off the stalk so that the white hull is left behind, attached to the stalk. The raspberries will come off easily when ripe. If they do not leave the stalk easily they are not ready to be picked.
Method of Picking Raspberries:
- gently hold the raspberry between finger and thumb
- pull gently away from the stem
- the raspberry should come off the stem, leaving the centre hull behind
- place the raspberry gently into a container
The following two photos show before & after picking. ‘Before’ has the raspberry on the stem; ‘after’ shows the whitish hull left on the stalk, after the raspberry has been picked.
It is important to handle the raspberries very gently, so that they remain fresh and nutritious after picking.
Picking strawberries is an art, if the strawberries are to remain bright and unbruised.
The aim is to :
- break the strawberry stalk without actually touching the berry
- end up with a stalk about 1 cm long attached to the strawberry
- not squeeze the strawberry at all
The method of picking strawberries:
- surround the strawberry with your hand, and with the fore-finger & thumb nail pinch the stalk about 1cm from where it is attached to the strawberry
- twist the stalk so that it breaks off
- let the strawberry roll into the cup of your hand so it rests gently in the palm
- carefully place the strawberry in a bowl
- do not overfill the container or the berries at the bottom will get squashed
Strawberries are very tender & bruise easily. Once bruised they will start to deteriorate and rot . Bruised strawberries loose their bright appearance and the colour darkens.
The strawberry must not be held in the fingers and pulled off the strawberry bush, because the pressure of the fingers on the berry will bruise it. It is important to pick strawberries with the hull intact by breaking the stalk!
The first peas were harvested on Tuesday 22nd June, 2010 but yields were generally low as the effects of the late frosts took it’s toll, with some flowers being aborted.
Silver Y Moth has been a slight problem, particularly in Petits Pois varieties, resulting in high levels of caterpillars being found in the pods.
Yields started to pick up once the frosted crops had been picked, and although not as good as last year, the peas were producing above average yields. As temperatures continued to rise, pods developed faster & there were more peas to pick. Petits Pois yields have been very good.
peas in pod
The last peas sown reached full flower on 22nd July, & will probably be harvested around the 11th – 13th August, 2010.
When are radish ready to harvest? It really depends on:
- how you like your radish
- what variety you are growing
We prefer to eat the variety ‘french breakfast’ when it is small. If it grows as big as the one in the picture it becomes fibrous and bits often go hard. This variety tends to become mis-shapen as it gets too big.
Vienna , however, is a larger variety. The radish in the photo are really the size of golf balls! They are a perfect shape and colour and have no blenishes. They are delicious to eat, quite mild in flavour but crisp and crunchy.
Radishes are at their best when grown quickly.
If you are unsure about when radishes are ready, pull one and try it – if it suits you, it is ready!
Every vegetable gardener has to decide when broad beans are ready to harvest.
A lot depends on how the individual likes to eat them – small, sweet & tender, or large with flavour!
If the pods have swollen and the beans inside are properly formed, but still really small and sweet, the whole pod can be cooked and eaten with the beans inside.
It is always a balance between yield and sweet tenderness. (more…)
How to harvest leeks depends on which end of the season they are at.
Early season leeks are lifted by placing a fork under the roots. The roots hold
on tightly and the stem easily snaps off, if a fork is not used to loosen the roots.
Late leeks have a stronger stem and can be pulled, giving a slight twist to break the roots, so most of the root clump & soil stay in the ground.
The chart below shows when herbs can be harvested from the garden.
Woody herbs like bay and rosemary will survive outside in a sheltered spot through the winter. They are both evergreen herbs and will have leaves which can be harvested all the year round.
Parsley, chives and chervil also grow throughout the year if protected, and produce fresh green leaves which can be cut all year long. Alternatively, these herbs can be grown in pots on the kitchen window sill.
Horseradish is a hardy perennial herb which is hard to get rid of, once it is established in the garden. The roots can be dug all through the year.
Most other herbs produce new shoots in the spring which will be big enough to harvest in the summer months, and harvest will continue until October.
The table of ‘when to harvest herbs’ is included in the How to Grow Culinary Herbs ebook written by TopVeg & Farming Friends which costs £3.
Click this link to buy a copy of the ebook How to Grow Culinary Herbs.
If you would like a free pdf of the table of ‘when to harvest herbs’, please complete the contact form asking for the table of ‘when to harvest herbs‘ and we will email it to you.
There is an abundance of seeds about now, and it seems a pity not to swap and share.
Every time we prepare a squash in the kitchen, we wonder why we have to waste all those seeds.
They make great snacks baked in oil & sprinkled with salt, but it still seems a shame not to actually ‘grow’ them again, when they came from such good stock. Hybrid varieties will not breed true, but the old fashioned, heritage varieties will produce an offspring like themselves.
Seedy People is a website for swapping unwanted seeds. The seed swap site had a very successful first year & they say:
“For the price of a stamp we can make use of all those millions of seeds that go to waste and also save ourselves money in the process !”
Seedy People is a great way to swap and share vegetable seeds.
Pick Pears before the Wind damages them. Branches and twigs hitting the pears will bruise them and the pears will rot quickly on the tree.
We have picked several baskets of pears.
But the damaged, bruised and pecked pears have been seperated as they will not keep. So we will use these first. If we are not eating the raw pears quickly enough, I will simmer them in red wine before freezing them for a special occassion!
We have managed to pick the pears before they have been damaged by the wind.