When I was a child and stayed with my grandparents my enduring recollections of waking up was to hear the old cockrell crowing with a shrill, manic urgency, soon followed by the sounds of my grandmother bustling out to the garden. She would take her basket and a sharp knife to harvest the day’s vegetables before the sun got too high in the sky.
My child mind didn’t question it until I grew my own vegetables and then found out that they take up the maximum moisture during the cool of the night and are therefore at their best for cutting at first light.
I tried it and it is true. Greens in particular will have plump and crisp leaves which will keep longer in the fridge and taste better when cooked. Beans, peas, courgettes, cucumbers, peppers – in fact the whole gamut of home veggie bed produce will all be better for a dawn harvest.
Another lesson I’ve learned from the practice of gardening is to always harvest vegetables before they go to seed – even if that means cutting more than you can consume immediately.
Once a plant has ‘gone over’ or gone to seed it is wasted, but a plant that is harvested fresh at dawn and wrapped in cling film will last a long time in the crisper drawer of the fridge, so why not? Its better than wasting all that good growing you have so carefully nurtured.