June 29, 2013
Cauliflower: Protect cauliflower heads (curds) from the sun from the time they are the size of a tennis ball by pulling up three or four leaves and tying them loosely around the head. This keeps curds white and sweet. The curds grow quickly and should be ready for picking in another week or two after this. Watch them closely and be sure to cut off the head before the florets begin to separate. And handle with care as they bruise easily.
Citrus: The best indicator of ripeness in citrus is taste. Check the flavour before getting into full harvest swing. Clip off fruit with sharp secateurs or pick them with a ‘twist, tilt and snap’ movement. It’s all about keeping the button intact, which means fruit will store longer. Just harvest what you will use – the rest will improve in quality when left on the tree. Eat immediately or store in the fridge for up to six weeks.
Pea: Peas form pods in about 10 weeks after planting. Pick peas for shelling when the pods are just plump – don’t let them get too old – and check plants daily when they’re in full production. Harvest just before cooking for the sweetest flavour. Peak harvest lasts only three weeks or so, but successive sowing once a month will ensure an ongoing supply. Bumper harvests can be lightly blanched and frozen.
Turnip: Turnips grow and mature quickly. You can harvest the leaves to use as a green vegetable, picking a few leaves at a time. The roots can be ready for lifting after five weeks, and the mature crop after six to 10 weeks. Pull them up before they become woody, or if there is risk of frost. You can store them up to three months in a cool outdoor place covered with straw, or cut them into chunks and freeze.