When to Harvest Vegetables

Learn how to tell if your plant is ready to harvest!

By: Amy Jackson, Editor,
When to Harvest Vegetables

One of the most nervewracking parts of growing vegetables is deciding when to harvest. This can be especially difficult to judge when dealing with plants that grow under the ground! You don't want to waste all of your hard work by harvesting early, but you don't want to miss that critical ripeness.

This quick gardening tutorial will help you figure out when to harvest garlic, when to harvest potatoes, when to harvest onions, and much more. Consider it your go-to guide on vegetable harvesting! Learn these simple tips and tricks for telling if your garden vegetables are ripe.

Never wonder about how to tell if your plant is ready to harvest again. Enjoy all of your fresh, ripe vegetables -- and once they're ready to eat, take a look at some of our favorite vegetable recipes to enjoy the "fruits" of your labor.

When to Harvest...

When to harvest potatoes
Potatoes grow under the ground, but you can figure out when to harvest them by the foliage above ground. For fingerling-size potatoes, harvest 2-3 weeks after the flowers are gone. For regular-sized potatoes, harvest once the foliage is completely dead.

When to harvest onions
Harvest onions once the yellow stalks above ground begin to droop and fall over. Note: if the top of an onion flowers, pull it and either eat it or throw it away; it cannot be stored.

When to harvest broccoli
Approximately two months after the broccoli is planted, it should have a head that is 3 to 6 inches across, with tight, dark green florets. Harvest before the broccoli turns yellow and flowers.

When to Harvest Vegetables

When to harvest corn
Once the ends of the corn are rounded, it is ready to harvest. If you feel the end of the ear and it is pointy instead of round, it has longer to go.

When to harvest rhubarb
Color is NOT an indicator of when to harvest rhubarb, despite popular belief. Instead, harvest rhubarb when it is about 10 inches tall. (In general, between 7 and 15 inches is a good bet.)

When to harvest beets
Beets are ready to harvest between 50 and 70 days after planting. They are flavorful even when small. The larger they get, the more fibrous they can become, so make sure to harvest them before they hit 6 inches tall.

When to Harvest Vegetables

When to harvest carrots
In about 75 days, carrots are ready to harvest. The visible tops are usually between 1/2 inch and 1 inch in diameter. Carrots are especially difficult to harvest at the right time, so a common practice is to plant "test carrots" to pull at different times as indicators for how the rest of the crop is doing.

When to harvest radishes
Winter radishes can stay in the ground as long as you'd like them to; summer radishes should be harvested in about 25 days. The tops will push through the top of the ground (or you can dust a bit of the soil away), and they should be about 1/2 inch to 1 inch in diameter.

When to harvest garlic
Watch the visible foliage for when to harvest garlic. When the tops turn yellow and fall over and are not  yet completely dried out, harvest the garlic.

What is your best gardening tip? Let us know in the comments!

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Great tips! I'm a novice at gardening so I'll definitely be keeping this information handy.


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