As summer approaches, so does the time for harvesting blueberries, strawberries and cherries in Fargo, ND. With the purest of summer flavors, dishes that incorporate blueberries, strawberries and cherries are a great homegrown treat to enjoy throughout the warmer months. Now is the time to start harvesting some of these foods, and prepare to harvest others very soon.
Blueberries tend to be an easy crop to grow, which makes them popular throughout the country. To harvest blueberries for best results in Fargo, ND, the key is to wait until they turn blue. (If that sounds obvious, consider how many fruits we can pick early and wait for them to ripen on the kitchen table.) The right timing can be anywhere from May through August—ask other Fargo gardeners when their berries tend to ripen to pinpoint the timing a bit better.
When the berries turn blue, see if you can pluck them from their stems. They should come off easily, without needing to tug or pull the berry. They should be completely blue—white or green berries will not ripen after you pick them.
Leaving strawberries on the vine as long as possible is the key to sweet, intensely flavorful berries. Generally, most strawberry varieties will be ready four to six weeks after they bloom, and a day or two after they’ve turned fully red. Avoid harvesting strawberries with green or white tips—if you’ve waited this long, you can wait a few more days until they’re at peak ripeness.
The best way to determine whether your berries are ready for harvest in Fargo, ND is to pick one and do a taste test. You want them to be fully red, sweet and soft, but leaving them on the vine too long can cause them to become mushy. They will also rot if left unattended too long, so be sure to get them while you can (and before the local wildlife steals your crucial pie ingredients).
Strawberries bruise easily, so pull them gently when you pick them. Snapping the stem above the berry can help you avoid bruising or breaking the flesh.
As with the other fruits, the longer you can leave cherries on the tree, the better. The fruit should be completely red (depending on variety) before you even think about picking them. Sour cherries easily release from the stems when they’re ready, but sweet cherries generally need to be tasted before you can tell if they’re completely ready. In fact, the sugar content of cherries increases dramatically right before they’re ready to be picked, so if the fruit tastes tart or bland, it’s not ready yet.
If you plan to eat them immediately, you can harvest the cherries right off the stem, but if they’ll be sitting on your Fargo, ND kitchen table for a few days, make sure you leave the stems attached. Just try not to grab the woody “spur,” which will generate more fruit next year.
When you’re interested in planting and maintaining a summer fruit garden, call S & S Landscaping Company, Inc. today for more tips and to secure the supplies you need!