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4010 Mt Diablo Blvd.
Lafayette, CA, 94549

Located in the Bay Area, CA, we're a family-owned garden center offering unusual and hard-to-find plants & gifts. Established 1946.

"When's The Best Time To Pick My Veggies?"

Life is Beautiful Blog

"When's The Best Time To Pick My Veggies?"

Lauren Brookhart


Here’s the list, we are breaking down our summer veggies and giving you tips on what to look out for when the harvesting time is right! If you’re headed out on vacation, tell your housesitter or neighbors to enjoy it. One of the most common mistakes made by new gardeners is harvesting their crops at the wrong time. Remember, don’t pick it early!

  • Beans: There’s a satisfying snap when you break a snap bean in two. Pick before you can see the seeds bulging and be vigilant, they will toughen quickly. Healthy plants will often rebloom and produce a second or even third flush of fruit. We love blanching and freezing our harvest, ensuring we have garden fresh snap beans all season long! Pick Lima Beans when well filled, but not over-mature.
  • Cantaloupe: The rind color should change to beige and the fruit should “slip” easily from the stem. You may be able to tell from it’s delectably sweet aroma.
  • Corn: Begin picking after the silks brown. When pricked, the kernels should exude a milky substance. Read more about corn harvesting here!
  • Eggplant: Fruits should be firm and shiny. Note that slightly immature eggplants taste better. Be sure to use a knife or clippers to remove from the plant.
  • Okra: Harvest frequently and err on the immature side as the pods become woody and tough as they age. Remove old pods to keep the plant producing. Okra has some small spines so be sure to wear gloves and long sleeves for protection!
  • Cucumbers:  Timing and length varies between cucumber varieties, but fruit should be firm and smooth. Harvest early, over-ripe cucumbers can be very bitter or pithy. The more you harvest, the more fruit your plant will produce. Remove the fruit with a knife or clippers, the vines are brittle and can be damaged easily. Read on for more tips on harvesting cucumbers here!
  • Peppers: Sweet and bell peppers should be full size but still green, firm and crisp in texture. Look for shiny green to slightly red chile peppers before picking. Dry dry fruit should be allowed to turn completely red and dry on the plant. Learn more about peppers both hot and sweet here. And hey, here's a recipe you've gotta try - Roasted Peppers with Halibut - yum! 
  • Pumpkins: Cut from the vine once the pumpkins have turned the expected color (We love that quintessential orange!) and vine begin to decline.
  • Summer Squash: Check daily, especially with the heat. Pick summer squash young, the skin should be tender enough to poke your fingernail through.
  • Tomatoes: Harvest when they are fully colored and slightly soft to the touch for the best taste. Gently twist and pull from the vine. If your plant looks like it may be over-producing, harvest some as they start to ripen and allow them to fully ripen indoors. Looking for fried green tomatoes? Harvest as they reach full size or just as they first color change begins.
  • Watermelons: The white spot on the bottom of the melon should change to yellow when ripe. Some say they can hear a change in the sound made when the melon is thumped with a finger. Here's a perfect recipe to incorporate your harvest bounty: Watermelon, Cucumber and Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salad!

Did we miss one? Reach out to us on our Facebook page and let us help you ensure a bountiful harvest this season!