Bitter vegetables are a product of stress on the plants. The chemicals that cause bitterness are usually present in the plant, but they can also move into the fruit. It can be caused by excessive watering or drying, or by a non-optimal environment.
Try to reduce stress on the plants by conserving water and fertilizing it properly to alleviate the problem.
Knowing the bitter taste of your vegetables will help you save your crops so you can enjoy their good taste and natural sweetness.
Sometimes inexperienced gardeners are confused by the fact that the things they grow are not as good or tasty as the things they buy.
Growing your vegetables usually produces beautiful fresh food, but you will often be surprised by an unpleasantly bitter taste. There are several explanations for this. It’s just that the taste is sometimes stronger and fresher so that you are not used to it.
Why Are My Garden Vegetables Bitter?
1. Dry Conditions
Hot, dry weather can produce bitter vegetables for long periods. Nothing can be done to regulate the heat, but keeping vegetables well-watered can help counteract their tendency to become bitter.
Soak vegetables at least one inch deep each week, more during prolonged dry periods, and mulch the area around the roots during the planting season.
Temperatures should be between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit, as these are fresh seasonal vegetables. Vegetables can have a bitter taste when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the University of Missouri.
Sugars may not have formed in vegetables; therefore, terpenoids may remain high. If the outside temperature begins to rise, mulch the vegetables to keep the soil cool.
Cover the vegetables as soon as possible for the best results.
One way to protect vegetables from heat is mulching. Mulching helps to keep the plants moist when the heat gets cooler and colder.
So you should try to store fresh mulch compost leaves, like deep garden mulch when it gets very hot!
2. Lean Soil
Lean soil and a general lack of nutrients is another feature of bitter vegetables. Vegetables are heavy in nutrients.
So the soil rich in organic matter can, therefore, help to grow vegetables that are less stressed and more flavorful.
Give your vegetables a good fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks if your soil is less than ideal.
3. Lack Of Sunlight
Cloudy areas, such as the Pacific Northwest, reported bitter vegetables due to lack of sunlight. Again, it is not possible to monitor the hours of sunshine, but you can plant in an area that gets all the sunshine nature allows.
If the weather is cool and humid but overcast, underground vegetable growth, like a polytunnel, will intensify the available heat and light.
Partial shade, especially during the hottest part of the day, protects your vegetable crops and gives them a bitter taste.
Use taller crops to protect your vegetables from direct and absolute sunlight in your garden.
If you live in a highly fluctuating environment, you may want to try gardening with straw bales and joint covers to work in a way that minimizes drastic temperature changes.
4. Harvesting Too Young
According to the World Carrot Museum, removing vegetables from the ground when they are young and tender can give them a bitter or savory taste.
Different varieties of vegetables may contain a higher amount of terpenoids, which appear in the vegetable before the sugars.
They may not contain enough sugar when the vegetables are picked when they are young, giving them a bitter taste.
Harvest vegetables when they are half an inch in diameter and start picking them until they are ripe during the growing season. Most vegetables ripen within 60 to 70 days if growing conditions are favorable.
Vegetables can be picked at any time of day in early spring when the weather is mild. However, it is safer to pick vegetables early in the morning until the heat comes on.
As temperatures begin to rise, the leaves begin to taste bitter, regardless of the shape of the vegetables grown. Also, remember to harvest them the right way.
5. Improper Storage
Vegetables must be stored properly after harvest to maintain their freshness. It is best to store vegetables separately from apples and pears in the freezer drawer.
The Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture suggests that extracting ethylene gas from these vegetables will help increase the bitter taste of vegetables.
Cut off the tops of the vegetables and store them in perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator for three to four weeks.
The green tops only last two to three days on vegetables and should be stored separately.
Wash vegetables and store in a plastic bag or container. Spread vegetables between paper towels to help control moisture.
Do not put vegetables in the same drawer or place as apples, pears, or tomatoes as this releases ethylene gas, which can damage the vegetables.
6. Insufficient Moisture
There is also plenty of water which is very important for the development of a nutritious, tasty and good quality vegetables.
Because of their shallow root system, vegetables prefer moist soil. Quite often, vegetables develop a bitter taste without enough water.
By following a regular watering program, you keep the vegetables healthy. As with other vegetable crops, waterlogged soil should be avoided to prevent disease.
When you haven’t had enough rain, make sure you have 2.54 cm of water per week. When you have hot or dry conditions, increase irrigation to 5.08 cm per week.
Are Your Garden Vegetables Bitter?
Although the temperature is the leading cause of vegetable bitterness along with the other possible reasons mentioned above, additional factors such as location, current growing conditions, and even variety can play a significant role in the bitterness of vegetable plants.
Poor care and storage of vegetables can lead to poor quality and bitter taste.
Check that vegetables are diluted and adequately watered during the growing season. Store vegetables immediately after harvest in a cool, moist place.