September 28, 2013
Asparagus: New asparagus plants need at least two years to build up reserves, so don't be tempted to harvest them in the early stages; let them grow. Once plants are established you will enjoy years of harvesting. Harvest plump 20cm spears by snapping them at ground level. Check your crop regularly - spears quickly “fern out” and become tough if you let them go - and eat them fresh, or store them in the fridge for a week or so.
Garlic: You can trim garlic tops any time for a flavoursome garnish. Reduce watering in late spring, a month before harvesting bulbs. Garlic bulbs are ready for lifting when the tops are almost completely yellowy-brown. Use a garden fork to gently ease them out. Let bulbs dry in the sun for a few days and then hang your harvest in a warm dry spot for a month before storing in a cool airy place.
Mulberries: The best way to gather mulberries is to spread a large sheet of plastic beneath the canopy and gently shake the branches. All the ripe fruit will fall, while unripened fruit will remain on the tree for later harvesting. Handle mulberries carefully - their juice stains easily. Mulberries don't keep well, so plan to eat them that day or make preserves. Prune trees after final harvest to maintain shape and encourage new growth, with a possible second harvest.
Zucchini: Check plants and harvest zucchinis regularly when fruit are 15-20cm long. Any bigger and they get watery and flavourless. You can make use of oversized fruit by scooping out watery flesh, stuffing with tasty fillings and roasting. Zucchinis commonly fail to form fruit when they are not getting pollinated, normally due to a lack of bee activity. Try pollinating them yourself by transferring the pollen from a male flower to a female flower.
See organicgardener.com.au/blogs/pollinating-zucchinis for a story and video clip on how to do this.