Aug 232012
Pick em ripe

by Avis Licht

String beans and cherry tomatoes are ripe and ready to harvest


As if it isn’t hard enough to grow your food, you also have to figure out when to harvest it.  This may not seem like such a hard thing to do, but there is a big difference in taste and nutritional value when you harvest at the correct time.

It is not always obvious when to pick your veggies.  Here are some tips.


Green Beans, whether bush or pole beans are harvested the same.  This green bean is long and slender.  It has not started to puff out where the bean seed will be forming.

green bean ready to pick

Slim, yet juicy, this bean is ready to eat.

Once the bean starts getting rounded, it will be tough to eat and not taste as good. The bumps mean that seed is forming and the plant is getting ready to reproduce.  Check out this photo of the beans side by side.

ripe and over ripe beans

The beans on the left will be tender and juicy. The ones on the right have started to form bean seed and will be tough.

a good bean and a bad bean (well, not bad, but you wouldn't want to eat it)

From this cross section you can see that the bean on the left has not started to form its seed and is tender. The bean on the right will be quite tough. I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.  Once beans start to produce, they come on fast and furious and it can be hard to keep up with the picking.  It’s a lot like a treasure hunt.  Keep lifting those leaves up and look for your ripe beans.

One reason I really like people to harvest at the right time, is that the taste is so much sweeter.  Kids, in particular are really sensitive to taste and sweetness and we want them to LOVE their veggies.  Come back and find out about tomatoes.  There is some very interesting information I bet you don’t know.

A ripe Brandywine tomato

There is something about the green shoulder on this tomato. Come back to find out what it is.



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