BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Sharon Meyer: Charlie, it's payoff time in the garden!
Charlie Nardozzi: Woo hoo! Yes, it is time and there's lots to harvest in the garden. And it's key that you harvest at the right time. So for example, squash, cucumbers and beans. Harvest them when they're small. Harvest the summer squash and zucchini even when they have a flower attached to them, cucumbers when they are 4-6 inches long, and beans before they get all bumpy.
There are two reasons for doing that. One is that they are going to taste better! But the other is that your plants will continue to produce more fruit because they haven't matured their seeds yet. If you let them get really big, they form mature seeds and then send a signal goes back to the plant that says, "I don't need to produce any more fruit," and that's the end of the season.
Sharon: So you have to trick them!
Charlie: You have to trick them! And if you have peppers, a really nice thing to do is try to be patient and let them go to their mature color, whether it be red, yellow or orange. They are much sweeter, much better for you and much more delicious when they are red.
Sharon: So don't pick them green.
Charlie: Exactly. Tomatoes you can pick whenever they start turning their color. And if you have a lot of produce, remember-- the Champlain Valley Fair is coming up!
Sharon: Competition time!
Charlie: That's right! August 22nd and August 27th are the two dates you can bring your produce to the fair, and you can enter them to be judged... by me! And win some prizes!
Sharon: He's a tough judge!
Charlie: Ah, I'm pretty easy on people. If you want to enter your vegetables in the fair, you gotta follow the rules. You can find the rules online, at ChamplainValleyFair.org.