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Connecticut Garden Journal: When to harvest zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and more

Tomatoes and Basil harvested from the Stone Acres Farm in Stonington, Connecticut.
Tony Spinelli
/
Connecticut Public
Harvest tomatoes when they turn the color of the variety you're growing. And, harvest basil by cutting off whole stems instead of individual leaves. This will encourage more stem growth and bigger leaves.

The veggie harvest is coming in fast and furious right now. It's important to stay on top of the harvest or else, your small veggies can turn into unruly monsters that don't taste so great either. So, here's a simple guide of when to harvest some of the most popular veggies.

Our bush and pole beans are producing tons. It's best to harvest these on the young side as the beans are more tender. When in doubt, pick. For dried beans, wait until the pods have turned brown before harvesting.

Summer squash and zucchini can grow into boats, if left unchecked. We harvest our summer squashes with the flower still attached. They're small and delicious at that size and we avoid having to deal with the zucchini bowling pins. The one exception is if we want to stuff out zucchinis. Then we let them grow a little bigger.

Harvest tomatoes when they turn the color of that variety. They, of course, continue ripening indoors. Harvest sweet peppers once they turn, red, orange, yellow or purple for the sweetest flavor. Harvest winter squash after they turn their mature color and the skin is tough enough that if you press your thumbnail gently on it, it doesn't break.

Harvest onions when about 1/3 of the tops start flopping over. Dry them in a warm, airy location for storage. Harvest potatoes when the tops start to yellow and dry those in a warm, airy place, too.

Finally, harvest basil by cutting off whole stems instead of individual leaves. This will encourage more stem growth and bigger leaves.

Charlie Nardozzi is a regional Emmy® Award winning garden writer, speaker, radio, and television personality. He has worked for more than 30 years bringing expert information to home gardeners.
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