Tips to Extend Your Harvest

Reader Contribution by Benedict Vanheems
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Here are some tips to keep fruiting and pod-producing plants cropping for longer…

1. Keep on Picking 

The first rule with any fruit or pod-producing vegetable is to keep up with the harvesting. Zucchinis that swell into marrows results in fewer new flowers and fruits. Beans will stop producing more pods if the existing ones ripen – by forming seeds, the plants have completed their lifecycle and have no further reason to continue flowering.

Photo by Getty Images/CasarsaGuru

Check plants regularly and harvest fruits and pods before they get too large or overripe. If you’ll be away from home for more than a few days, encourage your neighbors to harvest them – they’ll enjoy free food and help keep your harvests coming at the same time!

2. Keep Watering

Keep the soil consistently moist. Water-stressed plants don’t produce many fruits or pods, and become more prone to problems such as blossom end rot or splitting.

3. Continue Feeding Plants

Fruiting vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant are hungry plants, so keep watering on a suitable organic liquid fertilizer to give them enough energy to keep cropping.

4. Top Up Mulches 

Mulches of organic material applied earlier in the season may have been mostly incorporated into the soil by now. Top up mulches with new material such as seed-free straw or grass clippings to help to keep plant roots cool and moist.

5. Let the Sunshine in

Vigorous growth over the summer months can mean that taller plants cast shade where they didn’t before. Cut back any overhanging foliage and remove spent crops promptly to ensure good air circulation and sunlight.

In cooler climates, wash off or remove any greenhouse shading to let in more of the late summer sunshine.

6. Keep Plants Warm

Later on in the season, keep plants producing for a week or two longer using row covers overnight. Remove covers during the day to enable pollination, then replace it in the evening.

Get More Tips with These Great Gardening Resources

Our popular Vegetable Garden Planner can help you map out your garden design, space crops, know when to plant which crops in your exact location, and much more.

Need crop-specific growing information? Browse our Crops at a Glance Guide for advice on planting and caring for dozens of garden crops.

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