The Basics of Harvesting Part 1

by on February 5, 2013


We get lots of questions about harvesting garden vegetables, so here are some harvesting tips for some of our urban garden favorites:

Avocados are interesting in that depending upon the variety you grow, you can very closely predict when your avocados will mature. Haas avocados for example, almost always mature in April, give or take a few weeks for climate and geographical factors. You should also know that avocados are mature on the tree, but they are not ready to eat until they have been picked and allowed to soften for a few days.

Basil can be harvested as soon as the leaves begin to form, but it is best to allow the plant to grow to at least 8” high before using too much. If you wait until that point, trimming a few inches will have the added benefit of encouraging the plant to bush out and become thicker.

Beans are harvested based on the type of bean and what you plan to do with it. Generally speaking, if you want to eat the beans in the pods as “snap beans”, you should pick them before you can make out the indention of the beans inside the pod. For beans that you plan to dry for use as dried beans, the opposite is true and you should leave them on the plant until the inner beans are quite pronounced and the pod begins to dry out.

Chard, Kale & other leafy greens are among my favorites to grow because you really can’t pick them wrong once they are established. Pick a few leaves and leave a few. In a few days you will notice new growth where you previously picked!

Leaf Lettuce may be harvested in as few as 3-4 weeks after sprouting and anytime until the leaf begins to fully mature and turn tough. Depending on the variety, this may be anywhere from 40 to 65 days on average.

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