Tips from Olle Garden Bed: When to Harvest Vegetables and Fruits for The Best Flavor

When do vegetables and fruits reach the peak of flavor? Know when agricultural products can be harvested. All this is to identify signs that tell you when the crop is ripe. We will introduce when to harvest potatoes, zucchini and pumpkins, garlic, onions, corn, etc! The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

You have watered, fed and nurtured your garden. Now when can you begin to enjoy the fruits of your labor?

raised garden bed

When to harvest vegetables

Click the link crop below to go directly to the personal planting guide with more harvesting skills!


The globe shall be full, compact and tightly closed. The green bracts ("leaves" of buds) will not wither, and will make a squeaking sound if gently squeezed.


Cut a spear about 6 inches long. Look for tightly closed tips and hard, soft stems (either thick or thin).

Sweet basil

The buds are harvested immediately after they begin to appear (but before they open) for the best flavor.


Try it, then decide. The standard varieties of goldfish beans can be harvested when they are as thick as a pencil before the seeds are raised and visible through the pod. Lima beans are ready when their pods are green and they feel full. When the pods turn white or yellow, feed them to pigs or compost piles.

Once the beans begin to grow, they are picked every other day so that they can continue to produce. Shrub beans usually produce a second and third round of beans. Do not pull the pod, or the stem will break. Pick with two hands, one holding the beanstalk, the other picking.

Green beans are well frozen. Just blanch the water (put a pot of boiling water for one minute, and then cool it in ice water) to keep the color bright and the texture crisp.


Look for small and medium-sized roots (1-1/2 to 3 inches in diameter). Beets can be harvested at any time, but larger beets are usually more tough and woody. Beets should have smooth, firm flesh, show rich colors, and have healthy green leaves (not withered). If you eat beets for their green vegetables, once their leaves grow to 4 to 6 inches, they can be harvested at any time.

In order to obtain the best flavor in hot weather, please keep beets fully watered, and do not leave them underground for too long, lest they become pith or wood.


Broccoli is picked when the head is large and dark blue-green, and the bud is compact and tightly closed - before the bud turns yellow or starts to bloom. Harvest broccoli in the morning. Cut 6 to 7 inches below the flower head. If the bottom of the top turns yellow, the broccoli is too ripe. Stems should be hard, green should be green and fresh (not lame). Small and tender leaves are also very nutritious.

If your broccoli has yellow flowers, it will be tough and woody. Cut down about half of the stems of plants to promote the sustainable production of lateral branches. Keep plants well watered to prevent them from tasting bitter or sulfur. The best broccoli is produced in cool weather.


When the buds reach at least 1 inch in diameter, harvest them first from the bottom of the stem. Please note that the taste of Brussels sprouts is improved by one or two slight frosts. Don't peel the leaves, because they are necessary for growth.

Chinese cabbage

Look for strong heads and crisp, colorful leaves. Avoid cracked head, pale color or withered leaves.

raised garden beds


Young carrots are the sweetest. The best diameter of round carrot is 1-1/2 inches; They are selected at this stage to obtain the best flavor. Carrots can be picked when they are 1/2 inch thick.

Look for bright and rich colors, tight body and smooth skin. The leaves should be crisp and green. Split carrots (because the weather is too dry or too wet) usually taste bitter.

If the top of your carrots breaks when you pull them, try loosening the soil with a fork first.


The head should be compact, white, and hard - about 6 to 7 inches in diameter. The leaves should be bright green. If the head is soft or the leaves are yellow, cauliflower is past its peak. To prevent the head from turning yellow, when it is only 2 to 3 diameters, fold the outer leaf on the head.


The straw should be harvested when it is eight inches long. Look for fresh fragrance, solid stems, green and shiny colors and healthy green leaves.


Cut the purple flowers before they form and cut them back to get the sweetest taste.


Corn is a corn that is difficult to measure without looking inside the shell. First, look for a tightly attached, flexible, healthy and green shell. Then, select an ear, peel the ear to expose the corn cob, and poke a core with your fingernail. The core shall be plump and ooze light milky white liquid; If it contains water, looks too creamy, or dry, it's not good. Silk should be brown and dry.

Corn begins to lose its flavor at the moment of picking! For the best results, please pick and shelling ears of corn close to the time you want to eat (or within 72 hours). To remove the corn straw, hold the corn straw with one hand, and pull the ear down from the straw with the other hand, twisting slightly until it breaks. Cool the ears on ice and refrigerate. Or learn how to blanch water and freeze corn.


Harvest when about 6 inches long or large enough to use! Look for dark, shiny green skin and heavy, sturdy bodies and small seeds. Small water chestnuts are the sweetest and the seeds are the softest.

Don't wait too long - the bigger the better - they taste dirty and bitter. Yellowing or darkening indicates that the fruit is too ripe.

Check the vines every day, because once the vines begin to grow, they will yield more; The more you choose, the more you will grow. Store in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days with plastic wrap or plastic zip bags, otherwise they will dry quickly.


When the peel is shiny, smooth, shiny, and wrinkle free, it is harvested at a diameter of 4 to 6 inches. The color should be rich, and the body should be thick and solid. If you cut eggplant, it will be sprinkled with white, immature seeds. The fruit without visible seeds is immature. Hard dark seeds are found in overripe eggplant.

They taste the most delicate and bitter when they are young, before the skin hardens, the seeds mature and the inside turns black. Avoid large size eggplants. If the color of eggplant fades or loses its luster, it will be overcooked and may taste bitter.

Never pull eggplant by hand; Use pruning shears to harvest eggplants and leave the stems short. Store in the refrigerator for a few days.


The wrapping paper or "paper" shall be unbroken, tight and dry (not decomposed). When harvested, the top will turn yellow. The bulb should be solid and plumb, not dry or spongy. Avoid bean sprouts.


Harvest mature kale leaves when they are the size of your hand or a little larger. Like spinach, young leaves are more tender. Start from the outer leaves of kale; Be sure to leave seven or eight leaf crowns so that they can grow again after harvest.


Harvest when the white part is 1/2 inch to 1 inch thick. Pick them before they bloom, or the leeks will be too tasty! It is best to climb on the soil around the base of leek to get a longer white part.

Lettuce and salad vegetables

The head lettuce should be about 6 inches in diameter, with a firm, compact head that will yield slightly when squeezed. The head should start filling in the center, but it has not yet stretched and "bolted" in the center (sending flower stems), at this time they will taste bitter. Look for clean, crisp leaves with healthy colors.

For leaf lettuce, pick at any time, but when the leaves are less than five inches long, they will be more tender and delicious.

For mixed vegetables such as arugula and Mesquelon salad, you can choose any size. A popular method is "cut and reappear". When the plant is 4 to 7 inches tall, use scissors to cut the plant harvest, leaving the bottom 1 to 2 inches of plant in the soil. The cut crown of the plant will regenerate before it becomes bitter to gain some harvest. Therefore, continuous sowing shall be conducted every few weeks to continuously supply tender leaves.

raised garden beds


After the flowers have withered, the pods are picked when they are 2 to 4 inches long or about 4 to 6 days old. If allowed to stay on the plant, they will become very tough and sticky. If you continue to cut pods every other day or two, okra will continue to come! They start at the base and move the plants up (up to 6 to 8 feet in the south). If the pods are too large to eat, remove them.

Some gardeners with warm weather will reduce the okra by one third in late summer to produce a late harvest. Use pruning to cut open pods with short stems. Wear gloves and a long sleeved shirt if your skin is irritated by the stiff leaves of okra.


Wait for the tops of the onions to fall off and turn brown before pulling them. Let the bulbs dry for a few days, then cut off the top and rot and store in a cool, dry place. When onions are 6 to 8 inches tall and bulbs are 1 to 2 inches in diameter, harvest them.


The parsnips will be harvested in about 16 weeks. Leave them underground for at least a few frosts to maximize their taste.


The peas are picked when the pods are full and round, but before the pods wrinkle on the stems and appear pale white gypsum. It is better to select a "test" pod and open it to see if the peas are filled with pods. Before the pods become too big and tough. Pick peas at least every other day in the morning for maximum harvest and crispy texture.


Picking chilies, as long as they are beautiful in color and full size, will soon appear. If you are not sure what the full size is, please do not worry too much. Capsicum can be eaten at most stages, or it can stay longer than other plants after the plants mature. Overripe bells usually become sweeter. Overripe peppers usually get hot. But also remember: the more you choose, the more they produce.

Be careful when picking pepper; Use pruning scissors or sharp knives to avoid breaking stems. Avoid pulling chilies by hand because you will break the branches. Store the pepper in the refrigerator.


Potatoes should have a solid body, very heavy in size, without any black or soft spots, bean sprouts, wrinkles or green tones. Wait until the leaves disappear for a week or two, and then dig them out.

Wax gourd

Walnut squash, acorn squash and other winter melons can be harvested when the skin hardens. Press the nail into the flesh. If you have to work hard, the pumpkin has matured; If it is easy to pierce, then the pumpkin is immature. The skin should be full (matt), tight, rich in color, and free from blemishes or cracks or soft spots. Stems should be dry and hard.


Harvest when the skin is hard enough to pierce with nails and the fruit is dark orange. Pumpkins will not continue to mature from the vines. The outer skin shall be hard and shiny. Leave pumpkins on the stems for better storage and pick them before the autumn frost. When harvesting, cut the stem with a sharp knife, leaving a 2-inch stem to avoid rotting. Do not lift the stem of the pumpkin. Do not expose to frost.

Remember that pumpkins need to be preserved in the sun for 10 days (or in a warm, dry room). Then store in a cool and dry place at a temperature of about 50 . See more about storage in our pumpkin growing guide.

raised garden beds


Choose one inch in diameter, otherwise they will become "hot" and wood. Look for a strong, smooth, well shaped body. The color should be bright. The leaves should be healthy and green.

Chinese rhubarb

Harvest rhubarb stems at least one foot long. Avoid harvesting too many stems at a time as this may damage the plant.


Look for healthy dark green leaves 4 to 6 inches long. Once the plant is established, you can start harvesting the outer leaves. The plant has at least five to six full-size leaves, and always leaves at least four to five leaves on the plant so that it can easily regenerate. It will continue to grow for another cut, but you must harvest before the spinach bolt (sending the flower stem). Spinach left in the field for too long will have too large leaves and taste bitter.

Pumpkin and zucchini

The smaller the pumpkin in summer, the better! Choose a zucchini that does not exceed 6 or 7 inches. Choose pie pans from two to three inches, round zucchini from three to four inches, and longer pumpkins from 12 to 14 inches. The longer the fruit stays on the vine, the harder the outside is, the dirtier the inside is, and the more water there is.

You should be able to easily pierce your skin with your nails. More will follow. They should feel tight, heavy, and show bright, healthy skin and stems. Avoid dull or hard skin, large body, soft spots, blemishes and stems.

Wax gourd is like pumpkin. They should be colorful, and you should not pierce their shells with your nails. Marinate and store like pumpkins (see below).

Sweet potato

If harvesting, please dig when the vines turn yellow, and pay attention to avoid root fracture and bruise. Harvest before the first frost in the north. Look for a tight body without green tints, soft spots or wrinkles. To avoid damaging the tuber, use the digging fork to loosen the 18 inch wide circle around the plant, and then gently dig with your hands.

Sweet potatoes need to be preserved in a warm (80 ° F to 90 ° F), cool, well ventilated place for about 10 days to bring out their flavor and bake well. A cool table in the rain and outdoors works well.

Do not wash sweet potatoes before they are ready for use. Store in a cool, dry place, but do not refrigerate or store below 50 ° F. The pickled sweet potato can be stored for 60 months at about 6 ° F under high humidity; Basements are usually ideal.

Swiss chard

The first outer leaf is harvested when the plant is 4 to 6 inches tall (mature). But leave at least 4 to 6 leaves. Then let the leaves grow to their height of 6 to 10 inches, and then cut them. The plant will continue to produce leaves throughout the summer, and can also winter in temperate areas where the ground does not freeze.


Leave tomatoes on the vines for as long as possible to get the most flavor and complex taste. The perfect tomato for picking is very rich in color, no matter how big or small, there is no trace of green, and it is slightly hard - not hard when gently squeezed. The skin will be smooth and shiny. The fragrance will be very fragrant.

If frost is predicted, you can choose tomatoes that turn at least a little green to mature indoors. Just store in a dark place indoors at room temperature. Do not refrigerate tomatoes as temperatures below 55 ° will cause decomposition of flavor compounds. Preserve tomatoes by canning or drying.

Tomatoes taste best when grown in warm places during the day and night; Otherwise, they will taste more bland.

raised garden bed


The best radish is the size of a golf ball. They have strong bodies, smooth skin, rich colors, crisp leaves, and are very green.

When to harvest fruit


Look for rich colors, smooth skin and tight body. In trees, when the fruit is held in the palm of the hand and slightly twisted, and then upward, the stem should easily separate from the branch. Do not put apples on the counter or bowl after picking. They will become soft. Store in refrigerator.


Look for plump berries with a uniform black, shiny color with a hint of shade. Avoid redness. Do not wash the berries before they are ready for use.


Look for plump, firm berries with a uniform dark blue and pink white coating (called flowering). If you pick the berries yourself, don't rush to pick them. The berries turn blue. Wait a few days. When they are ready, they should fall directly into your hands. Do not wash the berries before they are ready for use.

Hami melon, muskmelon and honeydew melon

The perfect cantaloupe is very heavy, with fragrant fragrance at the end of the flower and hollow sound when it is knocked. The flower end should be slightly taped when pressing