For those who put the time and care into making a vegetable garden towards the end of last year, now is the time to be fully reaping the benefits. A good fruit and vegetable crop seems endless throughout the summer, but the reality is it will end all too soon. Once the window is over, you’ll find an abrupt end to the fresh produce. However there are many things you can do to maximise your harvest to make the most of the season.
- Pick only what you need. The great thing about growing your own produce is that it’s like having your own fridge in your back yard. The longer fruit and vegetables stay on the plant, the more sunlight they absorb and the sweeter and larger they become. They also stay fresh and healthy for much longer than the ones you buy in the store. Therefore you can simply pick as much as you need for each meal, then leave the rest for later. Of course, there is a limit to their longevity, but you can usually tell by appearance when they’re starting to get a little too ripe.
- Create long-life products. Fruit doesn’t last long after picking, but jams and preserves do. They’re easy to make yourself with boiling water and setting sugar, and will let you utilise your fruit harvest throughout the entire year. You can also create dried fruit chips, or turn vegetables into chutney. Another option is to spend some time making up batches of soup that can be frozen and stored for several months without going bad. This is a good way to have fresh healthy vegetables during the winter.
- Start thinking about the next season. Although there are fewer crops to grow in autumn and fewer still in winter, there are definitely options to keep your vegetable garden going. Pumpkins and root vegetables are among those that will do well in winter, so as you begin to clear out your vegetable patch, start populating it with new seeds instead.
If you’ve done the hard work, summer creates a bounty for fruit and vegetable growers. Make the most of this time and maximise your returns by picking carefully and making good use of what you grow.
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