By Dr. Stefan Buczacki
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Extra resources for The Gardener's Handbook
This is particularly true if you experience a warm up in the weather, which can encourage the flowers to bloom. Usually, broccoli grown in the home garden does not get as big as the broccoli found at the grocery store. In general, the best time to harvest is when the buds are about the size of a match head. n Brussel Sprouts Brussel sprouts actually mature from the bottom up. Therefore, you should usually harvest them once they are about one inch in diameter. To harvest brussel sprouts, either twist them off or cut them from the stem.
You should also take care to keep mulch away from the walls of any buildings on your property, particularly your home. This is because subterranean termites nest in soil and they eat wood products, which can include the supports and walls of your home or other structures. Even if the perimeter of your home has been treated against termites, they can use your mulch as a bridge to cross to your buildings. Six to twelve inches away from structures is the general rule for keeping them safe. 40 THE GARDENER'S HANDBOOK 41 KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR PLANTS Now that you are starting to put your plants in the ground, you need to consider how you will keep track of them.
You should stop harvesting about four to six weeks after your first harvest so the plant can produce the foliage it needs to produce food for itself. n Beans Snap beans should be picked before the seeds inside being noticeably bulging. At this point, the bean should be able to be easily snapped in two. You will need to check your beans daily, as it doesn’t take much time for them to go from being tender and tasty to tough if they are left on too long. n Beets When you thin out the rows of your beets, you can eat and harvest their green tops.