4 Tips For A High Quality Harvest, By Jim Hole

Fruit, fruit, & more fruit. This is the time of year when I receive all kinds of questions about fruit and why it may not be looking its best.

Here are some basics for getting a great harvest of high quality fruit:

1. Maintain good moisture levels during "fruit fill." When moisture levels are erratic while fruit is growing rapidly, bad things happen! Tomato fruit develops black patches on the bottom; the tips of zucchini fruit rots; and apples produce brown, rather than white, flesh. Root feeders for trees and DRAMM Watering Wands for vegetables are great water delivery tools.

2. Use Safer's Slug & Snail Bait around the strawberry patch. This is the time of year when slugs are at their peak and they love nothing better than to feed on ripe strawberries. This product is pet-friendly too!

3. Maintain fertilizer applications on cucumbers. When cucumbers produce "bulbous" fruit or fruit that tapers rapidly it indicates a lack of two key nutrients: potassium and nitrogen. 10-4-3 Nature's Source provides the nutrients the fruit needs at this time of year.

4. Remove flowers on any of your large-fruited varieties of tomatoes. It takes at least 6 weeks from flower to fruit for large tomato varieties, so it’s best to remove any flowers and tiny fruit which allows the tomato plant to direct sugars to fruit that will mature (hopefully) before the first fall frost. The small Corona Bypass Pruners are fabulous for cutting out flowers, particularly in tight spaces.