Fresh picked vegetables.
image by Sid Webb/sxc.hu
Throughout the growing season, you've watered, weeded and nurtured your vegetable garden. Now that the veggies are ripe, it's time to harvest them. Planning your harvest beforehand helps you schedule everything so that none of your hard work goes to waste. Decide how you will preserve each vegetable before your garden begins to ripen. Once that is decided and you have the necessary supplies on hand, all that's left to do is harvest your vegetables.
Harvest vegetables as they ripen instead of waiting for an entire plant to ripen. Harvesting as ripe may encourage further vegetable production and will keep veggies from rotting on the plant.
Cut the through the thick stalk of leaf vegetables like cabbage, lettuce and broccoli. Cut at an angle and harvest in the cool morning hours when possible.
Harvest pod plants, such as beans and peas, as the pods ripen by cutting them off the stem with scissors or pinching them off. Continual harvesting will keep the plant producing.
Hold a summer squash vine in one hand and the squash in the other. Pull gently on the vine to separate it from the squash. Cut winter squash vines off 3 inches from where they join the squash.
Pick tomatoes by holding the stem in one hand and pulling the tomato with the other. Twist the fruit slightly while pulling if necessary.
Cut bell or hot peppers from the stem with pruning shears or a knife. Cut the stem ½ to 1 inch above the pepper.
Loosen the soil around root crops, such as carrots and potatoes, with a garden fork. Use caution not to damage the vegetables in the soil. Pull them from the loosened soil by their leaves or use the fork to lever the vegetables out of the ground.