If you aren't quite sure of which veggies can be harvested now, here is information to help you evaluate ripeness and whether the veggie is ready to pick:
- Melons - can be picked when the fruit separates easily from the vine and the skin is hard. The tendril closest to the fruit will be withered.
- Asparagus - cut the stalks at the ground when they reach 6 to 9 inches tall.
- Beans - when the inner seeds start to bulge slightly through the pod, beans are ready to pick.
- Carrots - when you pull away the soil at the top of the root, the root should be about 1 inch in diameter.
- Potatoes - can be harvested when most of the vines are dead.
- Onions - are ready to harvest when about half of the leaves have dried out and fall over. Dig onions up slightly, but leave them in the soil for about one more week.
- Summer squash - will be most flavorful if picked when the squash measure about 6 to 8 inches long. Monitor squash each day as they grow quickly.
For the best flavor, harvest veggies in the cooler hours of the morning or evening.
Harvesting pumpkins and winter squash
Due to high temps this summer, many gardeners have seen their pumpkins and winter squash ripening several weeks ahead of schedule. If this is the case in your garden, consider harvesting these veggies soon. Because they are susceptible to mildew, which will cause them to decline, picking them sooner rather than later is best.
Cut the stems at least 2 inches long (even longer is good) and avoid carrying the fruit by the stem as a broken stem can cause the fruit to deteriorate. Keep the pumpkins and squash indoors to harden off. Pumpkins should be fine through Halloween and beyond. Winter squash can last well into the winter months if kept cool and dry.
Information courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado-sponsors of the 9News Kitchen Garden and the 9News Water Wise Garden. For help with your landscape needs, go to www.alcc.com and click on Find a Pro.