Whenever the beginning of August rolls around, I think more of harvesting the fruits of my gardening than the actual gardening. And harvesting has been the in progress for a couple of weeks already.

The Swiss Chard has been cut and has re-grown twice now. I just trim the upper leaves leaving about 15 centimetres of stalk. Soon, side leaves pop up to be harvested again a few weeks later.

This prevents the chard from bolting and saves me from re-seeding.

I’ve frozen a couple of packages of the chard this year which is simple to do. I just boiled water and put in the cut-up chard for three minutes. After the required boiling time, I scooped out the chard, rinsed it under cold water and put it in the freezer in zip lock bags.

If the frozen chard tastes as good as the fresh-cooked chard does, it’ll be a treat during the winter.

The early cabbages are coming on strong, too, and I’ll harvest a head or too early just to enjoy incredibly fresh coleslaw.

Herbs, chives, parsley and lettuce are growing prolific and have been the mainstay of summer salads. Herbs freeze quite well plus make excellent speciality herb vinegars just by steeping an herb in white wine vinegar for a week; strain and bottle.

The small tumbler tomatoes have been prolific and have kept the salads supplied with these juicy tidbits.

The larger tomatoes are a bit slower in ripening for lack of really sunny days. July has been a bit cloudier and rainier than would be ideal for tomatoes, but by trimming a lot of extra foliage and “opening up” the plants, whatever sun we do get will penetrate to the fruit and encourage them to ripen faster.

The larger tomatoes are starting to change colour –a definite good sign.

Fertilizing your crops is still important as by this time, in the growing season, the plants have used up a large portion of the nutrients in the soil; replenishing those nutrients will see the crops make it through the growing season.

To encourage your cucumber plants to continue to produce, the ingredients needed are moisture, nutrients and heat.

I’ve been in many a greenhouse where the temperature was just a bit too chilly for these vegetables to grow at their optimum. Remember that the ideal temperature for both tomato and cucumbers is in the 21 to 26°C range. Keeping the door and vents open too long reduces the soil temperature especially as we move toward the middle to end of August.

Raspberries will be a bumper crop this year. Everywhere I go, the bushes seem to be full of these delectable fruits. The domestic variety may be a bit later than the wild, but by applying lots of water in the flower and formative berry stage the berries seem to be extra large this year.

A friend is starting to “steal” potatoes from her potato patch. She does this by digging into the soil under the plant and feels around for the golf-ball-size tubers.

Just a few tubers per plant along with some fresh peas and you have a meal fit for a king. A little pre-harvesting harvesting is good for the soul to say nothing of the delectable meals you can create.