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“When do I pick it?” The How-to Harvest Guide for 13 Popular Veggies

Every gardener has been through the excitement of picking up veggies too early, or in the fear that they are pulling the plug too early, ended up waiting too long to harvest their veggies.

Even those with experience have jumped the gun too quick when they see the first tomato turning red on the vine.

So, anytime is perfect to go through the basics and don’t jump too excited in order to not be sorry later!

1. Tomatoes

No matter how tempting it is to pick these amazing veggies as soon as they turn red, don’t do it! For the best flavor and quality wait for 5-8 days after they gain their full color. At the end of the season, pick the fruit before the first frost, regardless of ripeness.

2. Zucchini

Zucchini can get huge if you let it, but you shouldn’t. best to pick when they are smaller and more tender. The ideal size is around 1 ½ inches in diameter and between 4-8 inches long.

3. Lettuce

You can harvest young leaf lettuce as soon as it reaches the size you’d like to have it. If you are waiting for more mature and larger leaves, then harvest when they are between 4-6 inches long.

4. Carrots

Carrots can be pretty tricky so be careful when growing them. Examine the tops and harvest when the diameter is between ¼ to 1 inch. In order to get the best and sweetest flavor, try waiting until there has been a light frost.

5. Beets

The beets are ready to harvest when their tops have emerged. Pick them when they are between 1 ¼ to 2 inches in diameter.

6. Brussels sprouts

Harvest Brussels sprouts when the small heads reach between 1 – 1 ½ inches in diameter. They are easily picked by holding and twisting.

7. Broccoli

You should harvest broccoli when it has a nice big flower head but before any of the flowers have started to open. To do so, cut the plant around 7 inches below the head.

8. Cauliflower

Pick cauliflowers when they have reached full size but are still smooth and white.

9. Peppers

You can harvest peppers rip or in full color and that depends completely on you. For ripe (red, yellow, orange or purple) peppers, wait until they reach their full color (generally about 2-3 weeks after reaching full size).

10. Sweet corn

If you are growing corn yourself, the time to pick it is when the silks have turned brown and dry and the kernels are completely filled.

11. Watermelon

How do you know what’s the perfect time to harvest your watermelon? Just turn the fruit and examine the spot where it contacts the ground. If this spot is a cream or yellow color, it means that your watermelon is ready to be harvested.

12. Winter squash

The rind of a winter squash should be firm and not easily penetrated by your fingernail. They should be picked before there is a heavy frost.

13. Kale

Growing kale depends on the areas and the weather where it is grown. In areas with mild winters, kale may be grown the entire season. In areas with freezing winter temperatures, start kale in late summer or late winter.

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