For at least another week, it appears there will be no frost warning along the Front Range, so vegetables can be left to continue ripening if they are not yet ready to pick.
If you are ready to harvest and store this year’s crop, however, here are some tips to prolong the shelf life of produce you grow or bring home from a farmer’s market.
To harvest most plants from your garden, it’s best to avoid pulling or tugging on plants as that will damage them. Instead, use a sharp knife or pruners to cut stems to remove the produce. Make a clean cut and hold on to the fruit, not the stem.
When buying pumpkins, select the ones with a stem still attached if you want them to last through the fall. After harvesting squashes and pumpkins, carrying them by the stem will likely cause it to break off. Without the stems, they will deteriorate sooner.
In general, the cooler days of fall are ideal for harvesting and cloudy days better than sunny ones. Morning is the best time to pick produce because that is when veggies have the highest water content.
Prepping veggies for storage
Getting most veggies wet leads to quicker spoilage. For root crops harvested in the fall such as carrots, turnips, radishes, beets, and additionally, for green beans, getting them wet will shorten their shelf-life.
If you have a cool basement, it can provide excellent storage for root crops plus potatoes, cabbage and tomatoes. Caution: keep carrots away from apples, potatoes and any other veggies that produce ethylene gas as it will make them bitter.
Harvested lettuce and other non-root crops such as peas, corn, broccoli, cauliflower and summer squash, need to breathe and have air circulation to keep them from wilting. Avoid wrapping them tightly in a plastic bag. Instead, use ventilated plastic bags and keep produce in the refrigerator. The coolness shows down metabolism and prolongs freshness.
For lettuce and herbs, insert a moist towel in storage bags. It will add moisture to help prolong freshness without making the greens soggy.
Following these tips can help you enjoy this fall’s harvest well into the months ahead!
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Gardening in Colorado amid inclement weather conditions like harsh winter or frost in January to May is quite tough. This blog highlights the importance of proactive planning and taking strategic moves and provide tips to get the best results from gardening.
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As a garden owner, you know that hot weather is tougher on plants than people, due to which it demands special care. Most of the vegetables and plants usually flourish better under the sun, but a scorching heat wave can damage them severely.
Harms done by heat waves commonly include burned leaves of plants and soil-moisture evaporation. However, you can fight these adverse effects of temperature anomaly and protect your garden by following the do’s and don’ts suggested by experts.
Help your crops in keeping their cool in summer by protecting them with filtered shades. It is also important to water your plants deeply, using automatic drip irrigation to let your plants receive consistent moisture. Further, watering plants early in the morning is also advised. You can also use the latest technologies of managing moisture to keep water in the roots of plants for their healthy growth.
By July 4th we have had several weeks of a heat wave. We now face waves of scorching temperatures in July and August that will threaten our vegetable gardens.
Here are the Top 3 Do’s and Don’ts to help your veggies keep their cool and beat the heat.
Top 3 Do’s
1. Provide Filtered Shade
During a heat wave, too much sun threatens the health of our vegetables.
Provide your vegetables filtered shade using shade cloth (from your garden center) and temporary stakes or bamboo to cover your vegetables. This lets plenty of light in but protects the vegetables from the scorching sun.
2. Water Properly
During a heat wave, when and how you water is important to plant health. The Top 3 Watering Tips are:
- Water early in the morning or in the early evening: This allows the plant to absorb more moisture when the sun is not evaporating it. Avoid late evening or night watering as this often leads to disease.
- Water Deeply: Water to at least 6 inches to develop deeper and stronger roots. This helps the plants resist heat stress during the remainder of the summer.
- Use Automatic Drip Irrigation: The advantage of automated drip irrigation is the plant roots will receive more consistent moisture than manual watering, or waiting for you to come home to water, or with spray heads. Spray heads lose too much water to evaporation, and run off from the yard and concrete areas.
3. Keep Your Water
Keeping water in the plants root zone means healthier and better vegetables. The best ways to do this are by adding mulch and a new patented technology named Moisture Manager. Mulch helps is slowing evaporation and controlling weeds that will suck up water. Moisture Manager uses tiny granules of a new, patented wetting agent attracts water molecules out of the air and surface areas to deliver moisture to your lawn’s root system for 3 months.
Flowers with Moisture Manager Without Moisture Manager
Top 3 Don’ts
- Don’t transplant or re-pot: This adds more stress to the current heat stress. Transplant when temperatures are cooler.
- Don’t prune off wilted growth: This wilted growth provide shade to leaves below. Let the plant recover from heat stress and prune on a cooler day if the wilted growth needs trimming.
- Don’t fertilize vegetables during a heat wave: Dry edible plants can take up too much fertilizer which can cause leaves to burn and even die.
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Is your yard like Grandma’s?
Back in Grandma’s day, lawns or landscapes were more like a window dressing around a building. They had a token tree or two, a few evergreen shrubs, maybe some perennials for color out front and a small flower bed for marigolds.
But today’s landscape is not your grandmother’s yard. Today, we require more of our landscapes than ever before.
Do you now expect more than just one pop of color, more shade to cut the AC bill in the summer and a livable area with outdoor ambiance where you cook, eat and entertain? Do you want more curb appeal and increased property value? Are low maintenance and lower water costs also on the list?
Even more important today, do you also want your landscape to clean the air, deal with the heat islands in cities, purify water as it moves through the soil, mitigate storm water, grow healthy veggies, attract pollinators and repel the deer that want to chew up our petunias?
That’s a tall order for a yard that once just sat still, looked kind of nice and had to be mowed once a week.
So what’s on your wish list for this year’s gardening season?
Here are a six ideas to get you thinking:
- ID the worst eyesore in the yard and put it at the top of the to-do list.
- Decide what you want to see when you’re sitting on the patio. Is it more color, another tree or just a bigger, nicer patio?
- Could you change just one thing that would require less maintenance? For example, is there a shrub you hate to prune because it has thorns? How about replacing it with a colorful and lower maintenance plant?
- Is it too dark in the areas where you would like to expand outdoor living? Would it be more usable if there was outdoor lighting?
- Can you find a placefor the fire feature that is now on your outdoor living wish list
- Also, walk across the street and look at your house from the neighbor’s perspective. This is how they see your yard every day. Rate the curb appeal. If it reminds you of grandma’s place, think about a facelift.
As with other projects, make the list, prioritize it, and develop a plan.
Do you want this “DONE FOR ME” or is this too complicated?
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We are confident we can please you, too, give us the opportunity.
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