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Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

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Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/2/2012, 12:20 pm

The rules for when to harvest depend on what vegetables you're growing. For leaves, stems and some root crops, you want to pick them early - while they're still at their most tender state. Ever eat woody asparagus? It's ripe, but it's so much tastier when picked while it's young.

For vegetables where the "fruit" or "seed-bearing" part of the plant is what you're eating -- tomatoes or peppers -- the opposite is true. A tomato may be ready, even red, but it tastes a lot better when it's picked as ripe as possible and eaten straight from the vine.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Many vegetables can taste better while still young. For example, the French love their petis pois (baby peas) or a small zucchini generally has more flavor and is more tender than one that's been allowed to grow into a giant.

A lot of when to harvest is just common sense. Herbs usually taste better before they've gone to seed. Pick corn when it's sweeter rather than waiting for it to get old and starchy.

Other veggies can wait it out until you've got the time. Root crops, like carrots, onions and potatoes, generally have a larger window of picking opportunity than other vegetables


The best time to harvest is in the morning, right after the dew has dissipated. That's when your vegetables will have the highest water content. It's also good to pick vegetables during cloudy days or when you're going through a cool spell for the same reason. (If you're growing grains, though, you'll want to harvest when dry.)

There are more veggies listed in the resource links at the end of this post.

Asparagus: Harvest by snapping 6” – 10” spears off at ground level. The length of harvest period is determined by the age of the plants. Stop harvesting when spears are pencil thin.

Beans, Snap: Bean pods are most tender when the small seed inside is one-fourth mature size. After this, the pods become more fibrous and beans more starchy.

Beets: Begin harvesting when beet is 1 inch in diameter. Beet tops at this stage make tender greens. Main season beets are harvested at 2” to 3”. Harvest spring planted beets before hot weather arrives (July) and fall beets before the first moderate freeze.

Broccoli: Harvest main heads while florets are still tight and dark green, before the flowers start to open.

Carrots: Harvest at 1” to 2” thickness. Spring planted carrots should be harvested before hot weather arrives. Fall planted carrots should be harvested before the ground freezes, or mulched for winter harvest.

Chard: Swiss Chard may be harvested continuously by breaking off outer leaves. Spring planted chard can be harvested from early summer to the first moderate freeze.

Cucumbers: They are best when slightly immature, just as the spines soften and before the seeds get half sized. This varies with varieties. Most varieties will be 1 1/2” to 2 1/2” in diameter and 5” to 6” long. Pickling cucumbers will be blocky and not as long.

Eggplant: Harvest when fruit color is still bright and shiny. Eggplant is overripe with larger brown seeds when the color dulls.

Kohlrabi: Harvest when the swollen stems are 2” to 3” in diameter. Stems become woody when left too long.

Lettuce, Head: Harvest entire plant when the head feels firm, but before the center bolts.

Lettuce, Leaf: Harvest outer leaves when they get large enough for your use. Keeping them picked increases your length of harvest before they bolt.

Peas, Garden: Harvest when pods are light green and filled out. If the pods turn yellow, they are past prime. Flat dark green pods are immature.

Peas, Snow: Harvest when they attain full size and the seeds begin to show. Do not allow the pods to fill out.

Peas, Sugar Snap: Harvest when the pods are rounded and begin to swell. If they are left on the vine too long, the seeds will become starchy and the pods tough.

Radish: Harvest when 1/2” to 1” in diameter. Spring planted radishes should be pulled before hot weather. Fall planted radishes should be harvested before the ground freezes, or mulched heavily.

Spinach: Harvest when leaves become large enough to use. Break off outer leaves as the plant grows, or you may harvest the whole plant at once.

Squash, Summer: Harvest while still young and tender. Keep fruit harvested so the plant will continue to start new fruit.

Tomato: Harvest when the fruits are uniformly colored, usually red, but before the end softens. Vine-ripened tomatoes will be the sweetest, but tomatoes ripened off the vine if picked with a blush of color.

More information is available from the following links

CORNELL UNIVERSITY ANNUAL VEGETABLES

CORNELL UNIVERSITY WHEN TO HARVEST

OSU EXTENSION SERVICE HARVEST THOSE VEGGIES






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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/11/2012, 7:42 am

I would like to thank furbalsmom for putting this rookie topic together for us some time ago.

Thanks furbalsmom for another great rookie topic!!

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  les1727 on 5/11/2012, 8:10 am

Thanks furbalsmom for all the great info.. I hope your health turns around. I will say a prayer for ya. I'll put your info to good use.

Carl

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  cheyannarach on 5/11/2012, 10:41 am

Thanks furbulsmom, this is a great rookie topic. I know a lot of the basic (basic to me, lol) veggies and this year I am trying a lot of new veggies that I have never grown so I will be refering back to this throughout the summer! Thanks again and best of luck to you!

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  givvmistamps on 5/11/2012, 12:11 pm

Thank you, Furbalsmom, for a wonderful primer on harvesting times! I, too, will refer back to this as I go through the growing season.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  cheyannarach on 5/11/2012, 12:41 pm

I have a question... Can you peek at root crops .

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  Pepper on 5/11/2012, 2:31 pm

Thank you Furbalsmom. I have taken a liking to your topics. As a rookie this is the info I need.

Now to talk RoOsTeR into creating a tab in the how-to section to make them easier to find.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/11/2012, 2:43 pm

All rookie topics are stickied here under SFG Talk> General Discussion:

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/f5-general-sfg-talk

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  walshevak on 5/11/2012, 3:05 pm

@cheyannarach wrote:I have a question... Can you peek at root crops .

I've been known to stick my finger down beside a plant to "feel" if there is a root (bulb) forming. Radishes seem to pop up out of the ground so you can see the bulb.

Kay

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  Pepper on 5/11/2012, 4:17 pm

RoOsTeR one day I will learn to serch before sticking my foot in my mouth

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  RoOsTeR on 5/11/2012, 5:04 pm

No worries Pepper. Enjoy the topics Very Happy

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  rschack on 5/15/2012, 10:45 am

Thanks for posting this! Really helpful. Very Happy

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  rschack on 5/15/2012, 10:48 am

@walshevak wrote:
@cheyannarach wrote:I have a question... Can you peek at root crops .

I've been known to stick my finger down beside a plant to "feel" if there is a root (bulb) forming. Radishes seem to pop up out of the ground so you can see the bulb.

Kay

What about carrots? Any tips for knowing when to harvest?

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When to harvest?

Post  memart1 on 5/15/2012, 11:02 am

Years ago a farmer friend told me that parsnips taste better when left in the ground over winter and harvested in the spring. Anyone out there that can verify this? I haven't planted any yet, but was thinking of doing so this fall.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  cheyannarach on 5/15/2012, 1:50 pm

@memart1 wrote:Years ago a farmer friend told me that parsnips taste better when left in the ground over winter and harvested in the spring. Anyone out there that can verify this? I haven't planted any yet, but was thinking of doing so this fall.

I don't know about overwintering them but I know if you harvest them after they have been in the frost the starches start to convert to sugars and they are sweeter!

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carrots and beets

Post  Warbler on 7/24/2012, 8:20 pm

I have carrots and beets that were planted in late April and early May - here it is late July and I can't tell that they're ready. Pulled a carrot and it was smaller than the picture (yeah I'm a rookie Rolling Eyes ) and yellowish. Have stuck my finger around the largest looking beet greens and can't find much. Can you tell by the size of the greens on top? Can a crop simply be stunted and not make it? -- Keep in mind our cool rainy long spring here in Pacific Northwest. Have only had serious sun a few times in the last month.

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rookie topic when to harvest veg

Post  Frenchbean on 7/25/2012, 12:52 pm

Many thanks for this. Ive just found the rookie topics there brill Very Happy

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

Post  cheyannarach on 7/25/2012, 5:30 pm

@Warbler wrote:I have carrots and beets that were planted in late April and early May - here it is late July and I can't tell that they're ready. Pulled a carrot and it was smaller than the picture (yeah I'm a rookie Rolling Eyes ) and yellowish. Have stuck my finger around the largest looking beet greens and can't find much. Can you tell by the size of the greens on top? Can a crop simply be stunted and not make it? -- Keep in mind our cool rainy long spring here in Pacific Northwest. Have only had serious sun a few times in the last month.

When beets get close the usually start to show you their shoulders! A plant can be stunted maybe with all the rain you get you may want to top dress with some compost.

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Re: Friday Rookie Topic: When To Harvest Veggies

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