May 1, 2013
Broccoli: Broccoli is ready to harvest in around 12 weeks (longer in areas with very cold winters). The heads should be big, round and firm. Use a sharp knife to cut them off the plant just above the larger leaves. Most varieties will begin producing side shoots, which you can harvest for another 12 weeks or so. Water plants regularly and feed them once a month to keep productive.
Parsnip: It takes a parsnip four to six months to fully mature and they need to be kept moist while maturing. A good time to start lifting parsnip roots from the ground is when the crown diameters are 3.5-5cm wide. They can be left in longer, but be sure to complete harvesting before the weather warms up. This causes them to bolt, which reduces quality. Freshly harvested roots will keep in the fridge for weeks.
Pear: Don’t let European pears ripen fully on the tree as the flesh gets too gritty. These pears are ready to pick when their colour changes and the base is a soft yellow. Lift and twist the fruit – they should come away easily when they are ready. Ripen in a cool, dark place between 18-21°C. To quicken the process, place some in a bag with a ripe banana. Unripened fruit will keep in the fridge for a month or two.
Click here for our Pear, fig & ginger upside-down cake
Wombok (Chinese cabbage): You can harvest wombok leaves as the plant is growing – just snap off some of the outermost leaves. For a full cabbage harvest, wait until the heads are firm and use a sharp knife to cut them off at the base. Be swift as wombok will quickly go to seed once they mature. It’s good to let one or two produce seeds, which will give you lots of seed stock for future crops.