When do you harvest?

Learning to harvest your fruit and vegetables from the garden is an important aspect of growing a garden.

All the different vegetables in the garden are ready at different times.  Even some in the same family such as squash plants are harvested at different times of maturity. Take winter squash and summer squash for example, you do not want zucchini to get full size because the seeds get tough and the meat of it gets hard and tasteless. Winter squash like butternut gets its full flavor and texture when they reach full maturity, you will then scrape out the seeds and strings before use.
Some of the plants that you want to pick when they are fully mature is tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, and red or orange peppers to name a few. You know the potatoes are ready when the plant starts dying back, the same is true for onions and garlic. But if you wait for that to happen with radishes, they will go to seed and the radish is almost inedible. Carrots are most tasty when they are small- about the size of a finger, but store better when grown to maturity.  With carrots, I harvest them as I need to thin them out. Then I can get the tasty smaller ones, and leave the rest to grow for storage.
Some plants such as peas and beans and summer squash will stop producing fruit if you do not harvest frequently. The goal of those plants is to produce mature seeds for next year, and when that goal is met, they die back. Therefore, harvesting them often is important for a large harvest.
Cabbage is almost ready!

Peppers are an interesting plant, they can be harvested green and immature to provide a tangier fruit, but if left to maturity, they provide a sweeter fruit. If you leave them to maturity, you will get a smaller harvest than if you harvest them green.

Get the most harvest out of your garden, check daily for ripeness. And enjoy your harvest!
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