Harvest Time!

Many of you have been picking tomatoes off the vine for a few weeks now, but did you know that there are certain rules to follow when harvesting your plants?

First off, know when to harvest. Different crops ripen at different times, so it's important to know when to harvest each one. Some crops, like tomatoes and peppers, need to be harvested when they're ripe, while others, like carrots and potatoes, can be harvested when they're still young and tender.  You should harvest early in the morning, when the air is cool and the vegetables are at their freshest. You shoudl also harvest on a dry day, so that the vegetables don't get wet and rot.


Once you determine the time is right, make sure you use the right tools. There are a variety of tools that can be used for harvesting crops, such as knives, scissors, and garden snips. The right tool for the job will depend on the type of crop you're harvesting. For example, while harvesting a cucumber or an egglplant, when there are tougher stems, you should use a sharp knife or hand pruners. With more delicate stems, like beans, you can use scissors. For root vegetables taht are in the ground, you will need a garden fork to dig up the crops.

In addition to using the right tools, remember to be gentle. When harvesting crops, it's important to be gentle so as not to damage the plants. This is especially important for crops that will be replanted, such as lettuce and broccoli.

Finally, be sure you store your harvest properly. Once you've harvested your crops, it's important to store them properly so that they stay fresh. Most vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator, especially if you're not going to use them right away. But some, like tomatoes and cucumbers, need to be stored at room temperature. And remember to wash your vegetables thoroughly before storing them.


Here are some more specific tips for harvesting our favorite crops:

  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes should be harvested when they're fully ripe and have a deep red color. To harvest a tomato, simply twist it off the vine.
  • Peppers: Peppers can be harvested when they're green, yellow, orange, or red. To harvest a pepper, cut it off the vine with a knife or scissors.
  • Carrots: Carrots can be harvested when they're about 2 inches in diameter. To harvest carrots, use a garden fork to loosen the soil around them, then gently pull them out.
  • Potatoes: Potatoes can be harvested when the leaves have turned yellow and the vines have died back. To harvest potatoes, dig them up with a garden fork.
  • Lettuce: Lettuce can be harvested when the leaves are large and tender. To harvest lettuce, simply cut the leaves off the plant, leaving about an inch of stem attached.
  • Broccoli: Broccoli can be harvested when the florets are tightly packed. To harvest broccoli, cut the florets off the plant with a knife or scissors.

And just because the warm summer days are coming to an end, it doesn't mean that your growing season is over! Cool-weather crops like cabbage, brocooli, spinach, kale, leeks, turnips and kohlrabi can still be planted this month, and harvested late in the fall.