As we approach the July 4th holiday, it is a good time to evaluate the vegetable garden and see which vegetables are still performing at their best and which are ready to be pulled. At this time, spring crops are producing abundantly while summer crops are just starting to take off. It is important to continually harvest to keep plants producing. Peas are enjoying the cool, spring-like weather and continue to produce as long as they are picked regularly. The outside leaves of chard should be harvested often to keep new leaves growing. Broccoli will continue to send up small side shoots if they are picked before flowering.
If a crop is no longer producing as well as it was, it is best to make room for either a fresh planting or allow summer vegetables to grow in. As lettuce bolts or becomes leggy, pull it out and replace it with a planting of beet or carrot seed. If the arugula has become too tough or spicy, it can be pulled and a new round planted in its place. Taking the time to freshen up the garden now will keep your vegetable plants healthy and productive as we move into the hot, summer months.