[MittleiderMethodGardening] What if My Plants Aren't Ready To Harvest When the Charts Say They are Supposed to Be Ready??


Group:  Following is an exchange I had with a Mittleider Gardener this morning.  I believe all will benefit from reading it:

 I'm very confused about harvesting. My onions are over 85 days in the ground but basically the size of half dollars (see pictures on group page). Now I'm told after asking questions that I need to wait until the stems turn brown before I harvest. My carrots will be day75 on the 19th and test harvests show the carrots only to be the size of my index finger or smaller. Chart says for potatoes 65 days. Mine are approaching 75 days and again have been told to wait until plant dries up until harvesting. Right now the only thing I fairly sure of is when the tomatoes are red they can be harvested! I stopped all fertilizing but the tomatoes based on the chart. Watering daily if it isn't raining. If you can't go by the maturity dates on the chart, how can one start a second set of crops?


Those are surely good questions Mike!  The problems with accepting written maturity dates for crops is that it cannot take into account things like plant variety (there are varieties of corn that mature in 60 days and some that mature in 84 days, and everything in between), growing zones, weather differences from year to year, season to season, and even week to week, etc., etc.

For example, what variety are your onions?  What has the weather been like - sunny and warm for 60 days, or cloudy, cool, and rainy for most of those 60 days?  How has the feeding been going?  If your garden receives two or three torrential downpours in a fairly short time the nutrients will be leached out of the soil, and feeding more often will be required in order for the plants to thrive.

Carrots and potatoes (and other crops!) are subject to the same variables.  Some varieties mature in 60 days of normal growing conditions, and some take 90 days or longer.

If you are serious about growing a second crop - and I hope you are - then you do the best you can, and if/when you discover your garden is not going to be ready when the seedlings are ready, you do things to slow your seedlings' growth, such as lowering temperature, reducing water, reducing light, etc.

Jim Kennard


Posted by: jim@growfood.com
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