How to Harvest Your Organic Vegetables
Harvesting your organic vegetables is usually the best part of having an organic garden. The whole family will usually volunteer to help even if only one or two has actually helped during the growing season. The harvest time for your organic vegetables varies depending upon the plant with many vegetables ripening all season long.
It is important that you harvest your vegetables as soon as they are ready instead of letting them stay out in the sun. Many vegetables will rapidly deteriorate if left out after ripening losing flavor. They will also become too mushy and tender losing their appeal entirely.
There are some plants that can be left out after they have ripened or even harvested before they are fully ripe. The following are a list of typical harvest times for vegetables that are commonly grown in organic gardens. Make sure you check your gardens regularly around harvest time since some vegetables will ripen correctly overnight. Even after you have bought in a large crop keep checking your garden because some vegetables simply produce more vegetables after the first crop is removed.
Harvest beets when they are between 1 and and 2 inches in diameter and leaves are 4 to 6 inches long. Remember the pet tops can be eaten too!
Harvest snap beans when the pods are firm and snap easily and the seeds are still undeveloped.
Harvest carrots when they are crisp and between to to 1 inch in diameter. Younger carrots are tenderer but older carrots are often sweeter so you can leave them until the first frost. If you like younger carrots pick them as soon as they are big enough and plant more for a fresh crop.
Harvest corn when the silk begins to turn dark and shrivels. This is usually about 20 days after the first silk strands appear but sometimes sooner so keep your eyes peeled.
Harvest cucumbers when they are between 2 and 8 inches long depending on your personal preferences. They are best for eating when they are dark green, firm, and crisp. Once the cucumbers are removed more will develop in their place so keep an eye on them.
Harvest eggplant when they are between 6 to 8 inches long and glossy with a deep color. Use either pruning shears or a knife to cut the fruit from the plant.
Harvest garlic when the tops of the bulbs begin turn yellow and dry out. The bulbs must be put on screens to dry and once they have washed trim the roots close to the bulbs and remove the loose outer sheaths before storing.