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Harvesting & Enjoying the Rewards


Maximizing harvest:

  1. Keep beans, peas and summer squash (zucchini) well harvested (picked) to encourage plants to make more fruit.

  2. Once you have removed the main head of broccoli, the remaining plant will sprout side heads that are smaller in size but equally delicious to the larger head. Side shoots can be harvested through the fall and sometimes into spring.

  3. Do not cut an entire head of lettuce. Remove the larger outer leaves of lettuce from several plants leaving behind center leaves to continue growing.

When to harvest/ All veggies expire:

  1. Root crops like beets, radishes and turnips need to be harvested on or around their date of maturity (see packaging) or they get “woody.”

  2. Peas and beans should be harvested often. The more you harvest, the more the plant will produce.

  3. Broccoli and cauliflower should be harvested when the tiny flowers are pin to match-head sized. If you do not pick on time, the flowers begin to separate and turn to yellow blossoms. HOME GROWN BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER HEADS ARE USUALLY SMALLER THEN GROCERY STORE SIZE. Leaves, stems & flowers are edible.

  4. Summer squash is best when small. Edible when huge, but tends to be more pithy and seedy.

  5. Lettuce, spinach, mustard, cilantro, and some oriental greens will rapidly grow tall and produce a flower head at the top at the end of their growth cycle. At this point, leaves often become bitter and less palatable. Plants should be removed and composted at this point.

  6. Kale, Swiss chard, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are biennial crops. In many cases they will over-winter and give a nice spring harvest before “bolting” and expiring.

Fact Sheet #26 Harvesting Fruits and Vegetables


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