How to harvest summer vegetables

Monday 7-23-2012

Red peppers:

Red peppers typically start out green and eventually turn red if you have a long enough summer for them to do so. They are perfectly fine to eat green, but if you wait for the red peppers, they are sweeter.



Eggplant is great because it will continually flower and produce eggplant throughout the summer. Harvest eggplant when they have gotten somewhat close to the mature size advertised on your seed. They can however be picked small. It is important to harvest the eggplant before the bright purple color starts to dull. This dulling is a good signal of age.



Soybeans can be left to dry on the plant or it can be eaten as edamame. Edamame are fresh soybeans. If you are going to eat fresh soybeans, it is best to pick these beans when the pods are full and bulging, but the pods and plant are still very much green. The soybean pods are not edible, so they should be boiled for a few minutes to soften, and then shucked.



Tomatoes are simple to pick. Pick them when red or yellow, depending on the ripe color variety. Interestingly, home grown tomatoes taste so good and are packed with nutrients because they are picked ripe. Grocery store tomatoes are picked green, and then sprayed with ethylene gas to ripen. They may look good, but they do not have the same taste and nutrients of home grown tomatoes.



Watermelon should be picked when ripe. You can knock on the watermelon, and if it sounds hollow, it is ripe.


Yellow Wax Beans:

Yellow wax beans can be picked when yellow and large, but they can also be picked when green and small. The small wax beans are actually sweeter. I like a mix of young and mature beans.



Zucchini is such a productive plant that if you don’t continually pick your zucchini, you can end up with baseball bat sized vegetables. I like to pick my zucchini often and when they reach 6-12 inches long. I don’t like to let the zucchini get too big, because I don’t think it tastes as good.


Sweet Corn:

Sweet corn can be a little tricky to harvest. Typically you only have a 7-10 day window to get that sweet corn taste we love so much. It is best to wait until the husks are very full, and the silk is brown and dry. If you pull back a little of the husk and put your fingernail into a kernel the milky cream corn should come out of the kernel then it is ready.

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