Sunday, August 23, 2009

Time to harvest vegetables

When is it time to harvest vegetables?

It is important to note that vegetables will not grow as big, and tall as the supermarket kind. Commercial vegetables growers use insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers that are much stronger than what the local nurseries have. This is one reason why "organic gardening" has grown in popularity in recent years. Read this article about organic gardening.

Below are some common vegetables and tips on when and how they should be harvested.

Asparagus - The Asparagus spears should be about 8 inches tall and about as thick as your small finger. Snap them off at the dirt or ground level and new spears will continue to grow. Stop harvesting about 4-6 weeks after the initial harvest, to allow the plants to produce foliage and food for themselves.

Snap Beans - Be sure to pick before the you can see the seeds bulging. They should snap easily into two separate beans. Check your crop daily sometimes they will mature in one afternoon.

Beets - They are ready any time after you see the beets shoulders sticking out at the soil line. Beets can be harvested when they are small, medium or large. It is up to you.

Broccoli - You can actually eat the unopened flower buds of broccoli, so check frequently, especially as the weather warms up, to ensure you don’t let the flower heads bloom. Harvest when the buds are about the size of a pea.

Brussel Sprouts - They should be at least 1 inch. in diameter before harvesting. Harvest by twisting off or cutting the sprout from the stem. These vegetables mature from the bottom up.

Cabbage - The head of the Cabbage should be almost hard before harvesting . Make sure to harvest when they are ready otherwise they will continue to split.

Carrots - My Favorite. The tops of the carrot will show at the dirt or soil line and you can judge when the diameter looks right for your variety. If the diameter looks good, chances are the length is fine too. But you will need to pull one out to be sure. Carrots can be left in the ground once mature. A light frost can add to the flavor of the crop.

Cauliflower - Remember do not expect your Cauliflower to be as big as the supermarket. Harvest when the head looks full and while the curds of the head are still smooth.

Chile's - Lots of varieties. Habaneros should be firm and about 2-4 inches long. Long green Chile should also be firm and sunken in. They are about 4-6 inches long. Over ripen long green Chile will turn red. This is OK since you can now make red Chile sauce. More chile information right here: Chile Tips

Corn - The silks have to form first usually about 3-4 weeks or so. They will turn dry and brown. The kernels should display a white milky substance when pricked.

Cucumber - You should check them every day. Harvest them when they are young . Timing and length will vary with variety. The should be firm and smooth to the touch. Over ripen cucumbers will taste bitter this can happen before they start to turn yellow.

Eggplant - Should be firm and rigid to the touch . You should always cut them off don't pull out.

Garlic - They are ready to be harvested when they turn brown. Be sure to clean off completely and allow them to dry before storing.

Kale - Kale can actually be harvested throughout the season, but they should be green and rigid to the touch. Kale will taste much better during the cool season. Kale is also a great ornamental plant. Great blue green color finishing its cycle in late winter. Usually February in the Southwest.
Leeks - When Leeks reach about 1 inch. in diameter you know it's time to harvest.

Lettuce - Should be harvested once the head feels full and firm with a gentle squeeze. Hot weather will cause it to bolt or go to seed rather than filling out.

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