Updated: May 15, 2020
Harvest Vegetables Daily
A great practice in harvesting vegetables is taking a basket out to the garden every day to see what has ripened. Picking vegetables as soon as they are ripe often encourages the plant to produce even more.
Bigger Does Not Necessarily Mean Better
Most vegetables are at their peak of tenderness and flavor when they are relatively small. Zucchini, for example, are best when they are no more than six or seven inches long, and then they get tough and woody. (If you discover an overlooked whopper, grate it and make zucchini cookies or zucchini bread.)
The Timing of Harvesting Vegetables
It's crucial to keep track of what you planted and when it was planted. Keep the seed packet so you know what to expect in terms of when it is ready for harvest. There are many cultivars of vegetables today, bred for different characteristics such as size and flavor. For example, it would be a shame to pick yardlong beans (which actually are best when they are 15 to 18 inches long) at the five to six inches that would be normal for pole beans. You can plant a watermelon variety that ripens at eight inches across (see here) or one that's not ready until the fruit weighs 30 pounds.
Look for Signs of Trouble
When you harvest, look out for signs of trouble, such as yellowing leaves or rotting fruit, and remove the problem parts. Even if it's something you can do little about -- such as blossom end rot or cracking from too much rain -- there's no point in letting the plant put energy into fruit you won't be able to eat.
Your edible plants are looking amazing. You’ve lovingly watched them grow and now it’s time to begin harvesting them.
To help you out, we’ve gathered together some quick harvesting tips for each of our edible plants.
As you’ll notice, some tips apply to more than 1 plant. We’ve also included 2 helpful videos at the end of this post to demonstrate how to prune and pollinate.