Once again, as I’ve learned the hard way many times over, seeing vegetables in the market is one thing; knowing when to pick them is another. This requires daily observation of plant parts, how they are changing and a good reference like the one below, provided once again by the Master Gardener Program sponsored by NM State University and NM Agriculture Extension Service.
I have grown 15 of the 31 crops listed and plan to try 1 or 2 more every year just to tell the difference in taste between home grown and market bought. To pick crops at just the right time is to have a tasting experience you’ve never had.
It’s a great idea to stagger sowing of the same crop by increments that will allow for steady harvest. Beets and radishes are really good examples of this since there is good flexibility in their growing seasons.
Don’t do what I have done. I went crazy one year and planted something like 15 cucumber seeds all at once. Of course, they were ready to pick……all at once.
So my wife asks me for suggestions for that week’s menu. I answer, “how about 75 lbs. of cucumbers?” We had gazpacho, cucumber (and beet) salads, learned how to make pickles and you name it. The kids were thrilled too. There is too much of a good thing, so learn to stagger crops through their growing season.