Harvest the bounty!
Welcome to reason for the season! Or the work, anyway. When it’s harvest time, the kids come running. “I’ll help! I’ll help! Let me swim for potatoes!” Or pull the carrots, or beets. Harvest time is so much fun, the kids will pull and pluck anything, regardless of whether or not they eat it! Which warms a momma’s heart. Siblings working together, side by side, eager to be productive and helpful. Well, in separate rows, that is. Not only do mine get a little competitive, experts on everything in the garden, critics on everyone else in the garden, they tend toward a love-hate type of relationship. One minute they’re best friends, encouraging and engaging, the next they’re complaining the other is on their turf, touching their stuff, or the dreaded, “He’s looking at me…”
But I’m sure your kids are wonderful, and will prove a delightful help in the garden so take them with you as you reap the fruits of your labor. Check with your fruit and vegetable resources for when the best time is to harvest your bounty, but keep in mind, there may not be hard and fast rules as when that may be. I figured I’d work according to the “days to harvest” information, until I realized this varies, depending on which source you used. I also learned, not all plants are created equally and some mature faster than others. News flash, right?
So my advice, start with the days to harvest and take it from there. Some of my plants kept on producing so I kept on picking! I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. In fact, the experts suggest to pick early and pick often in order to boost your plant’s production. Works for me! I even left some of my plants in from last season, just to see what they would do. (I swear. It had nothing to do with the fact that it made for one less row I had to till) And they kept going! My friend came by one day and asked, “The eggplant are still producing?” I tried to ignore the skepticism in her voice and quipped with pride, “Yep! Looks like it!” Granted they were smaller and I haven’t ventured a taste test, but that’s only because I didn’t water them enough. Summertime is vacation time and I was on “garden break.” But they do like nice in the row.
And special note to wives: After you’ve done all the hard work of preparing your site, buying your seeds and planting them with care. You’ve spent your time diligently watering and weeding and find yourself generally satisfied with your progress… When your husband walks up, surveys your garden with hands on his hips and casually asks, “So how much are each of these vegetables actually going to cost?” You take in a nice, deep calming breath, gather your patience, and smile. When his look of expectation remains solidly in place, you then give him the “look.” You don’t have to remind him this is about more than just producing vegetables, or that it’s about personal reward and satisfaction. You just give him the “look.” If he dares to repeat his question, I’ll leave that response to you.