If you’re like me, once those delicious-looking vegetables start to grow, I can’t help myself, I want a taste. However, as important as taste-testing is, there are some “rules of thumb” to help you determine the best time to harvest. Most veggies are harvested right before they reach full maturity. That’s when they tasted the best and have the most pleasant texture. Here are a few examples.:
- Asparagus: Begin harvesting when the spears are 6-8 inches tall and about as thick as your pinkie. Snap them off at ground level and new spears will start to grow. My grandmother planted asparagus along the ditch beside the farmhouse. There’s nothing better than fresh asparagus.
- Beans: Pick the beans before you see them start to bulge. They should snap easily in two. Make sure and check every day, it doesn’t take long for beans to go from delicious to tough.
- Carrots: Carrots are hard to judge for sure. The top of the carrot will show at the soil line so you can gauge whether or not the diameter looks right, but you’ll have to test by pulling a couple to be sure.
- Tomatoes: Tomatoes are best when they are fully colored and slightly soft to the touch. Gently twist and pull from the vine.
- Radishes: Because they mature quickly, as soon as you see the shoulders of the bulbs popping out of the soil line, it’s time to harvest. If you wait too long, they will become tough and go to seed.
Although there are a lot of very popular vegetables we didn’t talk about, you can always stop by Western Gardens and talk to one of our expert gardeners. We’re always happy to offer advice and recommendations that will help you yield a fruitful harvest and enjoy fresh vegetables at your dinner table all summer long. You can also visit us on Facebook for daily updates and specials.