September 26, 2013
Broad beans: Harvest pods when fully formed (at least 15cm long and when the seeds are the size of a five cent piece). Twist and pull gently from the stem. Check and harvest pods twice a week. Regular harvesting will encourage new flowers and pods to form. If you are not ready to eat them fresh, you can store pods in the fridge for a few days, and also freeze them after shelling. Dig plants into the soil after harvest to add nitrogen.
Celery: Celery needs five to six months of cool temperatures to mature so it needs to be planted late summer in warm areas. Don't let plants dry out; they need lots of regular watering and feeding, otherwise the stalks become stringy and overly bitter. A little bitterness is normal, but “blanching” the stalks (denying them of light) will help to reduce this. Simply wrap and tie the bases with newspaper two to three weeks before harvesting.
Fennel: Harvest fennel foliage any time you want to add its delightful anise flavour to salads, chicken or fish. You can also clip some of the outer stems and use them like celery. To harvest bulbs, pull up the entire plants when bulbs are 5-12cm wide. Catch them before hot weather sends your crop to seed, but let a few mature and store seeds for curries and next season's crop.
Avocado: Avocados don't ripen on the tree, so leave them hanging until needed and then allow them to soften in the kitchen. When the fruit looks mature, pick a larger one and if it softens to a good eating consistency then you can continue harvesting. Fruit bruises easily so handle avocados with care and use pruning equipment to harvest, leaving a short length of stem in place. Once ripe, you can store avocados in the fridge for two to three days.