How to Improve the Flavor of Garden Vegetables

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Garden-fresh vegetables are one of the true delights of the summer and fall seasons -- but there's no point in growing a vegetable garden if you can't enjoy the vegetables you harvest. Sometimes certain crops have a bad year and there's little you can do to salvage them, but for the most part, there are steps you can take to ensure flavorful vegetables. In fact, each step in the gardening process, from choosing plants to harvesting them, has an impact on flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Heirloom plants and seeds
  • Organic matter or compost
  • Insecticide (optional)
  • Choose heirloom vegetable plants and seeds for your garden rather than hybrids. Select varieties that are known to have the tastes you prefer. because they'll likely grow true-to-type and offer better flavor, according to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension.

  • Amend your soil with compost or organic matter to improve its fertility, recommends Rutgers, as fertile soil yields better-tasting plants. Fertilize regularly with a balanced, vegetable-safe fertilizer to maintain soil quality.

  • Water your vegetable garden regularly, especially if it doesn't rain often in your area. Keep the soil evenly moist, as some plants, such as cucumbers and squash, develop a bitter taste when not adequately watered.

  • Practice companion planting, or the art of placing certain plants next to each other for mutual benefit. Try planting summer savory next to beans to improve flavor, or chervil next to radishes, recommends the NDSU Master Gardeners.

  • Know when each of your plants should be harvested for best flavor. Check your plants daily to see what needs harvested, as overripened vegetables can lose their flavor, turn bitter or even begin to rot.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep your garden plants healthy to ensure the strongest, tastiest vegetables. Follow the guidelines of each plant for the type of water, sun, soil and nutrients it needs. Monitor insect infestations, and treat with insecticides as needed. Protect plants from frost in the spring and fall. Avoid choosing plants that aren't suited to your U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone.

References

  • Photo Credit Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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