Harvesting the vegetables in your garden for peak ripeness and flavor is all in the timing. These tips from the book Organic Gardening for Everyone: Homegrown Vegetables Made Easy by Calikim share how and when to pick popular veggies.

For a printable sowing guide also see 1-2-3 Seed Starting Plan for Vegetables Gardens.

This excerpt from Organic Gardening for Everyone by Calikim is used with permission from Quarto Publishing Group Inc. who also provided a review copy of the book.

Harvest Tips for Popular Garden Vegetables

Calikim in her garden | Photo by Jerry and Julianne HooperOur seed packets and plant tags have a lot of helpful growing information but they don’t always mention the best part: how and when to harvest vegetables for peak ripeness and flavor.

In this excerpt from Organic Gardening for Everyone, Calikim shares tips for harvesting popular garden veggies.

Beans

Cut or snap beans from the stem at pencil thickness, just when seeds start to bulge in the pod.

Beets

Gently pull beets from the soil when they are 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) in diameter. Place your finger in the soil to check for size. Leaves are edible.

Broccoli

Cut broccoli from the stem 2 to 3-inches (5 to 7.5 cm) below the heads when florets are dark green/blue and are tight and compact, before they open up. Leaves are edible. side shoots may grow new heads.

Brussels Sprouts

Cut sprouts from stem from the bottom of the stem up when they are 1-inch in diameter. Do not pick leaves, as they are needed for growth of future sprouts.

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Cabbage

Cut the head off at the base of the plant when leaves are crisp and form a tight head.

Carrots

Gently pull carrots from the soil when they are ½ to 1 inch (1 to 2.5 cm) in diameter. Place your finger in the soil to check for size. Tops are edible.

Cauliflower

Cut the head at the base when florets are firm, tight, and compact, before they open up and start to flower. White varieties should be white, purple varieties purple.

Celery

Cut stalks at the base of the plant when they are firm and glossy, 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) long. Leaves are edible.

Chard

For the sweetest flavor, pinch chard leaves off at the base of the stalk when they are the size of your palm or smaller. Stalks are edible.

Corn

To check an ear of corn, peel open a small section of the husk. It’s ready to harvest when kernels are plump and a light, milky liquid oozes out when a kernel is pierced. Gently pull the ear of corn from the stalk. Remove husks just before eating.

Kale

Pinch from the stem when leaves are the size of your palm or smaller. Younger leaves will be more tender. Leaves will grow back in 2 to 3 weeks.

Lettuce

Cut head lettuce off at the base when leaves are crisp and form a tight head. For leaf lettuce, use the “cut and come again” method: Pinch off outer leaves at the base of the stem, leaving some inner leaves. Leaves grow back in 2 to 3 weeks.

Radishes

Gently pull from the soil when they are ½ to 1-inch (1 to 2.5 cm) in diameter. Place your finger in the soil to check for size. Tops are edible.

Spinach

Pinch leaves off at stem when they are the size of your palm or smaller. Small leaves will have the best flavor. Leaves will grow back in 2 to 3 weeks.

Now that you know a few simple tips for picking vegetables at the peak of ripeness and flavor, you’ll feel confident showing off your own picture-perfect harvest baskets and sharing scrumptious, homegrown food with your loved ones.

Harvesting and eating fresh, organic veggies that you grew yourself is worth every bit of effort you put into growing them, don’t you think?

You can now proudly say “I grew this” and revel in the many rewards of growing your own food.

Buy the Book

Organic Gardening for Everyone
Homegrown Vegetables Made Easy—No Experience Required by Calikim

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If you want to grow healthy vegetables at home, but have hesitated because it seems too hard and time-consuming, Organic Gardening for Everyone is your perfect hands-on guide—an “if I can do it, you can do it” case study that addresses your concerns and gets you started.

Watch Calikim Garden Tips

~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛