A Guide to Harvesting Correctly
After all the hard work and effort of gardening, the most rewarding moment comes at the time of harvesting. While harvesting is generally easy, it is also an important step that without proper care can cause you some losses.
For example, harvesting too late can make some fruits and vegetables unpalatable, while harvesting too early might mean they never fully ripen or grow to their proper size. Improper harvesting can make the job more difficult or even cause damage to the plants. While harvesting some things can be a no-brainer, every type of crop is different and requires a specific technique. Below we’ll cover some general tips and then some crop-specific recommendations for harvesting.
General Tips for Harvesting
+ Fruits are generally ready when they are easily removed. If you gently tug on fruit and it comes off, then you know that it has reached maturity and sufficient ripeness.
+ Root crops can be tricky for beginners. Since you cannot see below ground, it takes knowledge of what the vegetative state should look like for harvest. It may be helpful to record your date of planting and reference a guide or seed packet to know their usual growth time. You can always pull some test plants out early to see their stage of growth.
+ Make time for processing food. It’s not unusual to have more than you can eat at once. Taking the time to preserve your harvest into jams, jellies, pickles, or frozen goods can make sure it does not go wasted.
+ Don’t forget. Too often people leave their crops without harvesting, causing them to go to waste. Remember it's always better a little too early than too late, otherwise it may be consumed by birds, bugs, or other creatures.
Tomato and Peppers
+ Harvest within 60 to 90 days after planting when colours are well developed (usually red but may vary depending on variety) and fruit is easily removed from the plant with little force.
+ If you're having issues with slugs and other bugs on Tomatoes, you can harvest them green and ripen them inside. In this case, cut them with clippers to avoid damaging plants.
+ Harvest can begin roughly 90 days after planting before the plant begins to flower.
+ Use clippers and harvest regularly to prevent flowering. This will prolong the life of the plant.
+ Harvest in 50 to 80 days after planting.
+ You can harvest earlier for smaller, sweeter onions or later for larger and stronger tasting onions. You can typically estimate the size of the onion by digging around the base of the plant gently with your hand.
+ These can be pulled out by hand or unearthed with a small shovel.
+ Harvest within 30 to 45 days.
+ Radish is one of the fastest crops to grow so don't forget them. You can see the size of the radish at the base of the plant to know when it's ready.
+ If left for too long they will become woody and may split.
+ Harvest in 100 to 150 days once the foliage has mostly died back and turned brown.
+ Harvest in 40 to 60 days after planting.
+ Harvest larger leaves simply by gently snapping them off by hand or with clippers. Avoid damaging the main stems of the plant.
+ Harvest regularly to delay flowering. Once arugula begins flowering the flavour becomes less pleasant.
+ Harvest in about 120 to 140 days after planting.
+ Cut the broccoli from the main stem using a knife.
+ Homegrown broccoli is often smaller than store-bought broccoli, so don't wait for the development of a large head. Instead, homegrown broccoli may have a large tender stem which is also delicious and edible.
+ Harvest in about 60 days when there are plenty of large leaves available.
+ Harvest leaves from the outside of the clump using a knife or clippers, leaving the interior small leaves intact.
+ Harvest in about 60 days when the plant has sufficient foliage.
+ You can remove damaged and disease leaves whenever you get the chance.
+ Harvest from the bottom and leave the higher-up younger leaves to develop.
+ You can harvest by hand by pulling the leaf down to the ground until you hear a satisfying snap, afterwards gently pull up to remove the leaf. This will leave a clean cut on the stem.