Harvest Tips

You and your family have done a great job tending your veggie garden all summer. It was harrowing for a bit there when those iridescent Japanese beetles attacked your bean plants, but you beat them back. As the veggies starts to ripen, however, it’s not always easy to decide when you should pick the fruit of your labors. Better Homes & Gardens has some good advice for getting the best nutrition and flavor from your harvest.

Tomatoes at home
Tomatoes at Home / Jiri Brozovsky / CC BY 2.0


Yes, they’ll ripen on the window sill after you pick them.  If you’re not facing imminent frost, however, you’ll be doing yourself and your tastebuds a favor by letting these soak up all the sun they can while ripening on the vine.

Recipe Suggestion: Greek Stuffed Tomatoes (3 Guiding Stars)

Summer Squash

Zucchini and its yellow cousin will just keep on growing if you leave them on the vine, but do you really need MORE zucchini? Wouldn’t you rather have better tasting zucchini? Bring them in when they’re 4-5 inches long for the sweetest flavor

Recipe Suggestion: Pesto Zucchini Rolls (2 Guiding Stars)

Bell Peppers

We may eat green peppers the most often because they’re the cheapest, but left on the vine, bell peppers will ripen to a wide range of colors. Each color–red, orange, purple, and even brown–represents a different spread of nutrients the peppers can offer. Pick your peppers when their pigment is perfect.

Recipe Suggestion: Jambalaya Pepper Bake (1 Guiding Star)

Salad Greens

If you planted easy “cut and come again” lettuce mixes, snip the leaves when they’re about 4 inches tall and wait for the next round to spring up. It’s not too late to plant a second batch to stagger your harvest for constant greens!

Recipe Suggestion: Gourmet Farmers’ Market Greens (1 Guiding Star)


Getting perfect sweet corn can be more of a challenge than it looks. Wait for the silks to turn brown for most varieties. When you think the corn is ready, check a kernel by piercing it. Milky juice means it should be ripe and sweet.

Recipe Suggestion: Grilled Corn Salad with Black Beans & Rice (3 Guiding Stars)