News release

Lettuce Celery-brate! What Fruits and Vegetables did you Harvest this Growing Season?

Environment | September 20, 2022

Do you have a backyard, balcony or a window with a lot of light? Despite living in the city, you could still grow your own vegetables and herbs. All you need is soil, seeds or seedlings, water and a little bit of effort to have a small vegetable or herb garden at your home.

Many vegetables, herbs or fruits planted in Mississauga can thrive like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley, cherries, pears, strawberries and raspberries. Timing is everything when it comes to a home garden. Once fruits, herbs or vegetables are picked, they lose flavour along with tenderness and nutritional value, so it’s important to know when to harvest them.

When to harvest vegetables in the summer and fall:

  • Crops like zucchini, green beans and berries are already past their prime, but heartier crops like apples and pears are in season now.Three green tomatoes on a plant
  • Tomatoes: Harvest tomatoes when they are a deep, uniform colour and slightly soft when squeezed. Tomatoes need to be harvested often throughout the season as they grow quickly!
  • Green beans: Look for bright green, firm beans. They should be about a centimetre in diameter without visible seed bulges.
  • Lettuce: Watch leaves for the size and shade you desire. If you wait too long, the leaves may taste bitter.
  • Collard greens and kale: Collard leaves should be harvested when green and around 25 centimetres. Kale leaves should be harvested when leaves are uniformly green and around the size of your hand.
  • Cucumbers: Look for firm cucumbers with a uniform green colour and thin skins.
  • Peppers: Sweet peppers and hot peppers are edible at all stages of growth – whether immature or full size, whether green or red. Harvest peppers when they reach the desired size, shade and firmness.
  • Zucchini: Look for zucchinis that are firm and vibrantly coloured. Zucchinis will keep growing until they become tasteless so it’s important not to let them over mature.

When to harvest fruits:

  • Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries: Berries mature quickly, so you can often harvest them every two days. Pick your berries when they are rich in colour but still firm.
  • Tree fruits (apricots, cherries, apples, pears): Pick fruit as it ripens. Test the fruit by looking at its colour, how big the fruit is and by taste.

When to harvest herbs like oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, sage, dill, chives and cilantro:

  • Only pick a third of the leaves from a herb plant at a time. Herbs should be harvested in the morning before the heat of the day. If harvested after the plant flowers, the leaves will taste bitter.

Herb plants in two pots on a patio

Community gardens
Did you know the City works with Ecosource to maintain community gardens across Mississauga? These spots provide residents with a place to garden and grow food.

In 2021, a total of 10,660 pounds of food was grown on Mississauga-owned land through individual and community plots. According to Ecosource, almost half of the total (47 per cent) was donated to local food banks to provide vulnerable families with nutritious food options. Some of the harvested produce donated included tomatoes, kale, beets and beans. Since the start of the pandemic, food insecurity has been on the rise with higher food prices and inflation. As a solution, many residents are starting to grow their own food.

Community garden with vegetables planted

Urban Agriculture in Mississauga
With an increased need for urban agriculture in Mississauga, the City has launched a new Urban Agriculture Strategy aimed at growing more food locally to ensure residents have access to healthy foods in their neighbourhoods.

The strategy will encourage healthier lifestyles, empower the community to learn new skills about growing and harvesting produce and strengthen relationships between the City and the community.

Nothing tastes better than homegrown produce! If you’re interested in growing your own veggie or herb garden, start with what you are interested in growing, determine how big of a space you have to plant and do a little research regarding the best approach and timing.

For more information on starting your garden, visit Ecosource Publications such as the Food Citizen Manual, Grown in Mississauga Training Manual and other resources.

For more local information about community growing, food growers and other resources, visit:

Looking to shop local? Visit a Farmers Market in Mississauga.

Tags

Media contact

City of Mississauga Media Relations media@mississauga.ca 905-615-3200, ext. 5232 TTY: 905-896-5151