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Know your Veg
Recommended equipment
Great Results! Bumper Crop! Tasty Harvest! Great Fun!  
Trowels and digging forks are useful tools for loosening soil and plants when pulling from the earth.

Childrens Gardening Gloves to harvest prickly crops

Trugs and a vegetable storage bag are both useful for collecting and storing the bountiful crop.

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When To Harvest
Harvesting should be done whenever crops are ready. Growing instructions on seed packets will give an indication as to when crops should be harvested. Follow these carefully.

Many vegetables such as carrots, beetroot, turnips and cabbage can be harvested when small to be used as baby vegetables. This helps to thin out vegetables allowing the remainder of the crop to grow to full size.

When preparing to harvest have a strong container at hand such as a versatile tubtrug. It needs to be capable of being wiped clean as it will get dirty from the soil. Scissors or a knife may be needed. Trowels and digging forks may also be needed.
Basic Tips for Fruit and Vegetable Varieties
  • Root crops will need to be dug up using a digging fork. Take care not to put the fork through the roots of crops like potatoes. Loosen the potato plant and then pull from the earth, gently digging over the soil underneath. This will bring to the surface the potato tubers. Make sure the soil is checked carefully as small potatoes can easily be missed.

  • Always loosen the soil around the plant first before trying to pull it from the earth.

  • Crops like turnips, beetroot and radish will only need a small trowel to lift them from the soil. Lettuce leaves will need to be cut or gently picked. Whole lettuces can be pulled up, but the roots will need to be cut away.

  • Peas and beans can be harvested by hand. Picking needs to be done on a regular basis as the more you pick, the more pods will appear. Gently twist the pod from the stalk, or break the stem using finger and thumb.

  • If possible harvest lettuce and salad vegetables early or late in the day when they are at their coolest. This will help them stay fresh.

  • Onions, garlic and shallots should be dug up and left on the ground, in the sunlight for a few days. This will allow them to dry off.

  • When harvesting soft fruit such as strawberries, place them very gently into their container. They bruise easily. If bruised, they will go bad quickly.
Storing Vegetables
  • Store vegetables in a cool place. Most will only keep for a few days after harvesting so should be used as quickly as possible.

  • Carrots, turnips, beetroot, Swedes and parsnips can be left in the soil during early winter. Cover with straw or fleece to keep the ground frost free. This will make it easier to lift when needed.

  • Onions, garlic and shallots can be hung in nets or plaited into strings. If they get damp, they will start to grow again.

  • Herbs such as mint, basil and oregano can be dried for use later in the year. Pick leaves for drying on a sunny day. Pick only undamaged leaves. Place them on a baking tray and allow them to dry in a pre-warmed oven. When they are dry and crisp to touch, rub the leaves between fingers. This will break down the leaves. Put into containers.

  • Long stems of herbs can be tied together and hung upside down in a warm dry place. When dry, take down and break up the leaves to go into containers.

  • When you have finished your first school year of growing its time to review the success and failures, plan the crops for the next year and the new products to purchase for the next growing season. Review our top 15 gardening club recommended products here to ensure you have the equipment handy for the next growing season

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Fact Sheets - Getting Started

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