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Harvesting Questions

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Harvesting Questions

Post  MasonGarden on 7/14/2011, 9:41 pm

I've been picking a few things here and there, but I have a few rookie questions about harvesting:

  • What is the best way to harvest lettuce? Time of day? Wash right away and refrigerate, or put in fridge and wash when ready to eat it? Harvest right before we eat it? Seems to wilt before we can eat it for lunch or dinner.

  • In general, should I only harvest in the early morning? Should veggies be washed before storing/refrigerating? Stored in bags in the refrigerator? (I know I shouldn't refrigerate tomatoes though)

  • I don't get enough cucumbers at a time to make a whole batch of pickles, so how long can they keep until I harvest enough to "put up" a jar? Same with hot peppers.

  • Will my red and gold sweet bell peppers change from green to the right color on the vine, or should they be harvested while still green, and ripened in the house?

  • How can you tell when root vegetables (Carrots, Radishes, Beets, etc) are ready to harvest?

These are probably silly me questions, but since we are about to get into the thick of harvesting in this area, I don't want anything to go to waste by not harvesting properly. Thanks!
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Re: Harvesting Questions

Post  shannon1 on 7/15/2011, 2:57 am

I like to harvest greens in the AM. Into the fridge they go unwashed. It is hot down here. As far as toms go I have heard tell one is not to chill them as it effects the taste in a bad way. I like to eat them cold sometimes and sometimes I eat them right off the vine. I may not have an educated palate due to the amount of chillies I eat, but I don't notice much of a difference. the other vegies I just harvest when I can take them straight to the kitchen and cook them up.
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Re: Harvesting Questions

Post  Unmutual on 7/15/2011, 7:09 am

This is my second year, so I hope I don't misinform too much:

I harvested my lettuce by the leaf from different plants so as to allow them to continue growing. I try to harvest as I eat(sometime difficult when things ripen at once like tomatoes), the plant it comes from can keep them fresher than any fridge.

As far as washing, that's a personal choice really. If you didn't spray the veggies with any chemicals and your air quality is good, then the only things you need to worry about is from animals and insects. I've eaten tomatoes off the vine without washing, but some things I do wash. This year I'll be washing everything as I had to use BT(though an organic pesticide, it's still a pesticide..better safe than sorry). Also read the instructions on any pesticides, they usually say to stop spraying 4-6 weeks(or more) before harvesting.

I can't speak for pickling cucumbers, but mine usually last about a week before shriveling in the fridge.

Bell peppers(along with other peppers, tomatoes..and as far as I know everything else) will ripen just fine on the vine.

Carrots, and I think radishes, grow more greens on top the larger they get(width-wise). So you can tell roughly how large around they are and that should be an indicator of when to harvest. I'm not sure about beets.

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Re: Harvesting Questions

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 7/15/2011, 7:52 am

Hi,
I harvest lettuce just before I eat it. Most veggies are happier if you do not wash them before storage, this does not hold true for root veggies. Believe it or not those fancy veggie refrigerator bags really do work. I can get garden lettuce to last almost a month. (Just for the record I only do that, when I have a huge harvest because the lettuce is about to bolt.) To figure out when your root veggies are ready to harvest just poke a finger around in the ground. Does the carrot feel the correct size? Sometime the "shoulders" will poke out of the ground. Hope some of this helps.

Patty from Yorktown
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Re: Harvesting Questions

Post  MasonGarden on 7/16/2011, 9:41 am

Very helpful harvesting advice. Thank you all!

I went out this morning and picked some Simpson Elite, Tango, Flame and Buttercrunch lettuces (still wet from the dew) and popped them right into a veggie refrigerator bag, unwashed and into the fridge. Hoping to have a nice salad for the family tonight, with the Better Sweet and Lemon cucumbers that I plucked off the vine as well. Unfortunately, no ripe tomatoes just yet. No carrots either. I took a peek at a Scarlet Nantes carrot, and it was just a "wee" little thing, about 2.5 inches long and 1/4" wide - too soon to eat! Oh well. It's time will come! hungry
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