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Harvesting Tips: The Best Time to Harvest to Get the Most from My Crops

August 09, 2021

One of the biggest unknowns and anxieties of the gardener is knowing when it’s the right time to harvest your crops. Too early, and your yield might be too low. Too late, and your harvest might spoil. You don’t want to waste all of the time, energy, and care you’ve invested in growing your crops. Here are some tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your harvest.

Harvest When You’re Ready to Eat, and Pick Daily

There’s something calming about stepping out into the dew drenched morning as the birds welcome the day with a basket to hold what ripened overnight. Make a daily harvest part of your routine, and you’ll also encourage your plants to produce more fruit.

Fruits and vegetables are at their best flavor and nutritional value right after they’ve been picked, rather than sitting out on your counter or in your refrigerator for days. Once you know your dinner plan for the evening, head out to the garden to harvest those perfectly ripe tomatoes and cucumbers for a bright summer salad.

Know Your Plants

Plant harvest times vary from strain to strain within the plant group and beyond types of fruits and vegetables, so you’ll want to do your research on the specific variety of plant you want to harvest. Keep the seed packets to reference what your fruit looks like when it is ready to be harvested. Some strains can have significant variations in size that will affect your harvest estimations. 

Crops like bell peppers tend to have flexible harvest dates, meaning that the prime time to harvest that particular crop can extend for weeks at a time, allowing you to harvest the ripened fruit as you need it, instead of all at once. 

Other crops, like tomatoes or zucchinis, need to be harvested regularly or else they will spoil on the vine, or keep growing and growing until they sour or have no flavor at all. Bigger is not always better—most fruits and vegetables are at their prime taste and nutritional value when they are relatively small. Besides, what on earth are you going to cook with twenty two-foot-long zucchinis?!

Have the Right Tools Handy

When it’s time to harvest your crops, the right tool can make all the difference to your productivity and efficiency. Plus, a dull blade or attempts to hand-pick can damage the plant and reduce its fruitfulness the rest of the season. HTK’s Handy Safety Knife is a proven tool that makes harvesting all of your crops easier. A three pack of Handy Safety Knives allows you to try out three different knives: the Original, Industrial, and Sportsmen. Learn more about the ways you can use your Handy Safety Knife.

Happy harvesting!

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