This season, the WTTW organic garden has been a prolific producer: several heads of lettuce, bundles of kale, and half a dozen bulbs of garlic have been harvested, among other crops.
Some other fruits and vegetables have just reached maturity and are now ready for picking.
The persistent hot, humid weather has propelled the sungold and gold berry tomatoes in our garden. Dozens of these cherry varieties were ripe for picking this week.
Tips for harvesting tomatoes: Use color and touch as your guide. Once the tomato reaches the correct color for its variety (tomato changes from green to orange-yellow or yellow with a hint of purple, for sungold and gold berry tomatoes respectively), gently press into the skin of the tomato. If the tomato feels somewhat soft, twist it from the vine.
Eggplant and peppers
Also enjoying the heat are the Turkish orange eggplants, which have turned a deep orange-red from all of the sunshine they received over the past week.
Tips for harvesting eggplant: The stem of the Turkish orange eggplant will be about 1-2 inches long when ready. Using pruners, cut the stem so it is at least half an inch long.
Late last month, Jeanne Nolan harvested a handful of cayenne peppers but left many of them on the vine in order for them to develop in color from green to red. Approximately three weeks later, a handful of them are bright red and ready for harvest.
Tips for harvesting cayenne peppers: Be patient. In order for them to change color, they require lots of sun. Once they’ve reached the correct color, use pruners to cut them off at the stem.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor
If the warm weather is beginning to wear on you, keep this in mind: “The heat from the sun can really pop things up in the garden,” The Organic Gardener maintenance crew member Adrienne Detanico said. “It’s time to harvest, check on the health of your plants and just enjoy.”
Tune into Chicago Tonight on Monday to find out which of our other crops will be harvested and which plant was recently added to the vegetable patch.