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Grow Your Own: Growing an Orchard

by Juan Jardinero

“We are star stuff harvesting sunlight.”
? Carl Sagan

The cold season is coming to end, and we couldn’t be happier. Though seasonal changes have become irregular around the world, we are now in what we could call a short spring. The sun is bright, the humidity is starting to accumulate in the mountain tops, and soon, rains will come to replenish the earth so seeds hiding in the soil can grow and greenify all our surroundings. But maybe in the meantime you´ve been growing your garden, regardless of the frost and crazy changes in temperature that occur from early morning to noon, if this is the case, perhaps your getting close to harvesting some delicious veggies from garden.

For beginner gardeners, harvesting can be tricky, sometimes the sheer pleasure of watching things grow and grow might keep you from harvesting only to later find out they’ve wilted or you´ve lost some of the flavor. Here are some basic things to keep in mind when harvest times along:

Pick More, Get More: Regardless of how and when they get around to it, plants have a singular goal: to reproduce. A plant knows to pack it in as soon as this goal is reached. Picking beans or zucchinis when they are young and tender tricks the plant into trying again. The same goes for flowers and herbs. Removing the flowers before they turn to seed means more flowers and healthy leaves for your consumption.

Small is more: It´s tempting to try to grow oversized produce. You could feed an entire family with a single monster zucchini. Unfortunately it won’t taste very good. Overgrown vegetables are woody, hard and bland.

Fresh is best: Most vegetables are at their peak flavor directly after leaving the plant. The longer your harvest sits around on a counter, the lower the quality. Get the most from your pickings by eating or preserving them right away.

In the morning: Just about all produce is at is freshest, crispest and tastiest in the early morning. The cooler late evening makes a reasonable substitute for gathering heat sensitive vegetables and greens.

So enjoy the fruits of your labor and share the extra yields.

Sunday Volunteers: If you´re looking to get dirt under your nails and work on your farmer tan, every Sunday we are accepting volunteers at our Urban Farm, if interested contact us at juanpa@elinfinito.org or call us at 304-7604.

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