TOMATOES, CORN & WINTER SQUASH
These three say they need to ripen before harvesting, although green tomatoes have something to say about that!
The first indication that we are nearing ripeness is when we color up. BUT our best clues are our flesh gives to gentle
pressure AND our stem willingly separates from the vine at the first joint above the fruit. Then you should enjoy us.
Before the cold temperatures set in, pick us green tomatoes, even we who are hard as a baseball. Wrap us separately in a couple layers of newspaper and put us someplace in darkness, like on a tray under the bed or in a box. Check us periodically for ripening (or possible rotting -- please remove these!) Enjoy us into Thanksgiving or even Winter Solstice!
When my silk turns dry and brown – about 3 weeks after it first begins to show – then my kernels inside will be full and milky.
I like to remain on the vine until my rind has hardened and my color has deepened. If you want to store me though, wait until my plant has died before harvesting me.
You can pick me once I have reached a usable size. Do it while my skin is still glossy. Once it dulls, I am not at my best.
Pick me once I've reached a size you like. If you are patient and leave me on the vine longer, I will reward you with my red self. All the more vitamin C for you!
You can pick me at any size. I am best when small and tender and my skin is still glossy and has some "grab" when you move your hand across it. But all is not lost if I get to be the size of a baseball bat – make zucchini bread!
Wait until we of the shelling kind have filled out the pod, but don't leave us on the vine too long after. We are rather tough then. We sugar snaps can be eaten pod and all and are sweetest and most tender BEFORE we fill out our pods!
Pick us when we are the size you want, but don't let us get too large! Warning! We green beans get especially tough then. And, we cucumbers make seeds so big, you will need to remove them.
Beets, Turnips & Carrots
Be a detective and check out if we are the size you want before digging us up.
Leeks & Onions
We can be pulled & eaten at any stage. The onion advises: If you want to store me, leave me in the ground until my top yellows.
I am day-length sensitive and literally stop growing at Summer Solstice. So, in July, dig me when my tops are starting to yellow but while there are still 5-6 green leaves left. If you allow all my leaves to brown up, then there will be no covering left on my head when you harvest me and I will not store well at all.
If you want new potatoes, start digging us about 7 weeks after our green breaks ground. If you want to store us, wait until 2 weeks AFTER we have died before digging us up.
Much of the above was taken from Taunton's Fine Gardening, Aug 2003
How do you known when your vegetables are ready for harvest?
by Ruth Lively, former senior editor of "Kitchen Gardener" magazine answers