Testing your tomatoes

Fresh Organic Tomatoes

How to judge your vegetables readiness

Back to school is in the air, and it feels like summer is drawing to a close. I even saw my first red maple leaves yesterday!

Your garden, still has at least another 2 months of good growing left in it! As long as you keep up with the watering and weeding, you should get a lovely fall harvest of all your summer and fall vegetables.

Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are ripening. Tomatoes especially need nice consistent watering to succeed. If your tomatoes are cracked, or mealy it means that you haven’t been watering enough, or you’ve left them on the vine too long. How do you know when your tomatoes are ready? The colour is a good indication, but more important is the touch. Gently squeeze the tomato and if it is not rock hard, it is ready to eat.

There is no such thing as a green pepper! All green peppers are simply red, orange or yellow peppers that haven’t ripened yet. That goes for the hot peppers too. Even jalapeños will turn red. You can certainly pick them green, or let them ripen fully for a sweeter (or hotter) taste.

You can tell that eggplants are ripe by gently squeezing for softness. The more you harvest, the more fruit you can expect from your plants. Eggplants can be picked at a variety of sizes. You should pick them before they start to go from shiny to mat.

For cucumber, beans and zucchini, the smaller you pick the fruit, the tastier it is, and the more you pick the more you get. Good eating!

If your plants are still small and spindly, it is most likely one of two problems. Not enough sun, or not enough water. Check if your garden has at least 6 hours of sun per day. If not, take a look around your yard for where we could move your garden to for next year. If your garden is already in a sunny spot, small spindly plants indicates that you are not watering enough, especially on hot sunny days. Consider a simple irrigation system on a timer to ensure that your garden is getting deep, consistent watering.

Our current issue is with powdery mildew, and other leaf bacteria and fungus. Be sure to remove any diseased or damaged leaves from the garden. Your best defence against these types of invasions is to keep your garden free of debris, and to stop the spread by removing affected plant parts. A baking soda spray (1 tablespoon Baking soda, 1 teaspoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon dish soap in a gallon of water) works wonders to protect the plants.

Please be sure not to make a baking soda solution that is too potent. A strong solution can burn leaves.

Please let me know if you have any gardening questions.


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