If we have decided to create a garden at home and make way for a more natural and sustainable diet, then knowing how to harvest is essential. If done prematurely, the quantity and quality of production may be inferior, while if it is postponed, it is possible that the fruits will be exposed to undesirable climatic conditions and end up damaging them. To enjoy fresh and healthy vegetables, here is how it is indicated when is the best time to harvest, depending on the plant, and how to do it correctly.
Home Gardening in India
When is the best time to harvest?
The first step in knowing how to harvest is to determine the growth time of each planting. Certain factors can be taken into account to identify it.
Observe the full growth of the garden
The main thing is to live with the garden for a full stage, that is, from spring to winter. This will make us identify the time of flowering and ripening, until when it is ready to be harvested. It should be noted that the speed or delay of its development will depend on the geographical location, the soil and the ambient climate, which is why it is very important to carry out detailed monitoring.
Recognize the characteristics of each vegetable
Observation will make it possible to distinguish important changes in the plant. For example, when lettuce and chard leaves reach a length of 20 cm, it is time to remove them. It can take up to 2 months and the leaves should be cut from the outside to the inside to avoid damaging the stem. In the case of onions, you have to wait until the top layer turns yellow and falls off, and that’s when it’s time to harvest. The process lasts up to 6 months from sowing.
In this sense, the cycle of plants and all the changes they manifest are relevant to knowing when it is time to harvest. Tomatoes take 80 to 100 days to ripen, while carrots take 150 days from the time the seed is grown.
Determine what you want to harvest
It is also important to be clear on what we want to collect or what we are going to use it for. The general idea when thinking about harvesting is to remove only the fruits or plants, however, the process also targets the roots or the flowers themselves. Following this line, a good starting point for knowing when is the best time to harvest (in each situation) is:
- Floors: they are harvested when they reach development.
- Flowers: before they fully open.
- Domain: at the end of its growth.
- Fruits: at the time of ripening.
How to harvest? : Tips for Home Gardening in India
In the way of harvesting, it is also important to take into account certain measures so that the process does not damage our garden or our plantation. It is also necessary to follow some subsequent recommendations so that the fruits last longer.
- Before harvest, we wash our hands well.
- We only have to harvest what we are going to eat, otherwise we will lose all production.
- Vegetables should be washed very well with potable water and disinfectant drops should be added.
- Harvest preferably at sunset, in the morning or in cloudy weather so as not to dehydrate the crop.
- The harvest can be immersed in water until it is used to prolong its vitality.
- If we have sprayed fertilizer, it is necessary to wash the roots before harvesting so that it does not affect the flavor.
- In case of washing, we wait until the roots absorb water very well before harvesting.
- If there are dry leaves, we remove them. These do not provide nitrogen and prevent the growth of new, healthy cocoons.
Types of crops
In learning to harvest, we also need to determine what kind of harvest we want to do. On the one hand, there is the complete harvest and, on the other hand, the harvest by leaves or partial. In both processes, we must have a knife, pruning shears and a basket to collect.
It is a matter of pulling the plant from the roots. And to complete the process successfully, it is important to follow these small steps:
- Remove the plant from its base, thus avoiding breaking the stem. It is important to pull hard and with one shot.
- We shake it to remove the soil from the root and check that it is not damaged.
- The root is cut and we mix it with the compost (if we do). They also have medicinal uses depending on the plant.
- The harvested fruit or plant is placed in the basket, washed and disinfected.
Harvest by leaves or partial
In this type of harvest, only the leaves we need are cut and the plant continues to grow in its place. The process is as follows:
- Only the stem with the most leaves or the quantity to be consumed is cut.
- In the case of chives, for example, the closest to the stem is cut with a knife.
- It is always cut from the outside to the inside.
- In tomatoes, the fruits are cut for cooking and the stems are used to make fertilizer.
- Only the leaves of the stems that do not have flowers are harvested from the basil.
What is the life cycle of vegetables?
To find out how to harvest more easily, below, a guide is shared with the evolution of the plant from its sowing and maintenance processes, until reaching the harvest stage.
|Lettuce||Rich in vitamin A and B, calcium and iron. Especially on the outer leaves.||All year round indoors. We place up to 3 seeds in each hole and they germinate within 3 days.
The transplant takes place after 3 weeks and requires a lot of sun.
|From week 7. We can collect everything or remove the leaves from the outside to the inside.
They are rinsed in cold water and kept cool in plastic bags.
|Spinach||Rich in vitamin A, B1, C and iron.||All year round outdoors. It should be planted 12mm deep and in well moist soil.
Germinates in 2 weeks and requires sun or partial shade. In a space of 30 cm² there is room for 9 plants.
|It can be harvested at week 10. If only the leaves are removed, it should be from the outside to the inside.
The inner leaves are the fastest growing, although they can only be harvested once a year.
If you cut the stem, the plant returns to the leaves 1 more time.
|Coriander||Its ripe leaves are sweet and the green bitter.
When the flowers come out, the leaves are no longer good.
|In spring and summer it can be sown outdoors.
It does not transplant well. A space of 30 cm² can accommodate 16 plants. It takes a lot of sun to grow.
|From 5 weeks, but only the leaves are harvested, and this should be done in spring and summer.
Full maturity reaches 12 weeks, giving flowers and seeds.
|Parsley||It is an important source of vitamin A and C.
There are two varieties: the smooth leaf (the best flavor) and the curly (the most beautiful), both protected from pests.
|Sowing takes place throughout the year and is transplanted after 3 weeks. In a space of 30 cm² there can be 4 plants.||After 14 weeks, the leaves can be harvested, once the plant reaches 10 cm.
Maturity reaches 7 weeks. When cutting the leaves, do not touch the inner shoots.
|Cabbage||Rich in vitamin C.
It needs a lot of water to grow, but as the head grows, the amount of water is reduced.
Yellow leaves should be cut from the base.
|In spring, summer and autumn indoors and with lots of sun.
The seeds are placed 6 mm deep and germinate in 8 days.
We transplant with lots of sun in the spring after 3 weeks.
In a space of 30 cm2 there is room for 1 plant.
|You can either cut the entire plant or cut the leaves from the outside to the inside 7 weeks after sowing.
Rinse the leaves with a stream of cold water and store in a plastic bag for several days
|Tomato||Avoid getting the leaves wet when watering and remove any side leaves that grow on large stems.
Also remove the dead leaves inside the plant and cover the plant to avoid whiteflies,
|Indoors and in summer. Simply use 5 seeds per hole and transplant in 3 weeks. Shape it with the help of a climber.
In a space of 30 cm² there is room for 1 plant. Takes up a lot of space
|It takes 20 or 25 weeks. You need to gently pull the tomato or cut the stalk.
To last, they must be harvested when they are firm and orange, or red when consumption is immediate.
Now that we know how to harvest, it’s time to enjoy our garden and prepare healthier dishes.