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Garden Vegetables Harvest Chart


A basket of harvested vegetablesWhile there is no universal code to determine when to harvest your garden vegetables, if you have knowledge of what to look for you can personally determine the best time to pick your vegetables.

How To Use This Chart

Use the following vegetable harvesting chart (compliments of the University Of Georgia Extension). 

Find the vegetable that you are growing and then use the associated columns to read the vegetable descriptions.  This will help you determine if the vegetable is too ripe to pick or if it is too late to harvest.  We’ve also supplied an “Optimum Maturity” column which will help you to identify the best time to pick your veggies this year. Happy Harvesting!

Need more gardening tips? Check out our Garden How-To Section.

Need gardening assistance? Use our Store Locator to find a Southern States near you.

Planning for the upcoming season? Shop vegetable seed, garden supplies & canning supplies.

Vegetable Part Eaten Too Early Optimum Maturity Too Late
Artichoke, Globe Immature bloom Small flower buds When buds are 2" to 4" in diameter Large buds with loose scales or bracts
Asparagus Stem Insufficient length 6" to 8" long; no fiber Excess woody fiber in the stem
Lima Beans Seed Insufficient bean size Bright green puffy pod; large seed Yellow pods
Pole Beans Pod and seed Insufficient size Bean cavity full; seed ¼ grown Large seed; fibrous pods
Snap Bush Beans Pod and seed Insufficient size Turgid pods; seeds just visible Fibrous pods; large seed
Beets Root and leaves Insufficient size Roots 2" to 3" in diameter Pithy roots; strong taste
Broccoli Immature bloom Insufficient size Bright green color;
bloom still tightly closed
Loose head;
some blooms beginning to show
Brussels Sprouts Head Insufficient size;
hard to harvest
Bright green; tight head Loose head;
color changes to green-yellow
Cabbage Head Insufficient leaf cover Heads firm; leaf tight Loose leaf; heads cracked open
Cantaloupes Fruit Stem does not want to separate from fruit Stem breaks away easily
and cleanly when pulled
Yellow background color; soft rind
Carrots Root Insufficient size ½" to ¾" at shoulder Strong taste; oversweet
Cauliflower Immature bloom Head not developed Compact head; fairly smooth Curds open; separate
Celery Stems Stem too small Plant stands 12" to 15" tall; medium-thick stem Seed stalk formed; bitterness
Collard Greens Leaf Insufficient leaf size Bright green color; small midrib Large midrib; fibrous
Sweet Corn Grain Grain watery; small Grain plump; liquid in milk stage Grain starting to dent;
liquid in dough stage
Cucumber Fruit Insufficient size Dark green skin; soft seeds Skin beginning to yellow; hard seeds
Eggplant Fruit Insufficient size High glossy skin;
side springs back when mashed
Brown seeds;
side will not spring back when mashed
Head Lettuce Leaves Head not fully formed Fairly firm; good size Heads very hard
Okra Pod Insufficient size 2" to 3" long; still tender Fiber development; tough pods
Dry Onions Bulb Tops all green Tops yellow; ¾ fallen over All tops down; bulb rot started
English Peas Seed Peas immature and too small to shell Peas small to medium;
sweet bright green
Yellow pods; large peas
Southern Green Peas Seed and pod Peas immature and too small to shell Seeds fully developed but still soft;
soft pods
Hard seeds; dry pods
Pimiento Pepper Pod Insufficient size Bright red and firm Shriveled pod
Red Bell Pepper Pod Chocolate-colored pods Bright red and firm Shriveled pod
Irish Potatoes Tuber Insufficient size When tops begin to die back Damaged by freezing weather
Sweet Potato Root Small size; immature Most roots 2" to 3" in diameter Early plantings get too large and crack; damaged by soil temperature below 50°F
Rhubarb Stem Small size; immature Stem 8" to 15" long is best Fleshy stem becomes fibrous
Soybeans Seed Seeds not developed Thick pods; bright green Dry pods; seed shatters out
Squash, Summer Fruit Insufficient size Rind can be penetrated with thumbnail Penetrating with thumbnail is difficult;
large seed
Squash, Winter Fruit Soft rind Rind difficult to penetrate
with thumbnail
Damaged by frost
Tomatoes Fruit May be harvested in three stages:

Mature green – tomato is firm and mature, color changes from green to light green, no pink color showing on blossom end. These tomatoes will store one to two weeks in the refrigerator.

Pink – pink color about the size of a dime on the blossom end. At room temperature, these tomatoes will ripen in about three days.

Ripe – tomato is full red but still firm. Should be used immediately.
Watermelon Fruit Green flesh; green stem is difficult to separate Melon surface next to the ground
turns from a light straw color
to a richer yellow
Top surface has a dull look

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