How to Tell When it's Time to Harvest!
So you planted your little babies and they’re growing and growing and now what? When do I harvest? Are they ready? What do I do! Here are some tricks and tips on how to know when your goodies are ready to be harvested.
Artichoke bulbs are a hard one, because the main bulb grows quickly and will be a lot bigger than the (usually) two that grow on either side of it. Size isn’t the best way to decide when an artichoke is ready to harvest so don’t worry about the sizing. You want to harvest your artichoke when those thick leave looking parts of the artichoke start to separate from the center slightly. Once you see they’ve started to separate, cut it off the stem! It may be too late to harvest once they’re separated a whole lot. (Fun Fact: the stem of an artichoke can be pretty tasty roasted with some olive oil so cut some extra stem off to give it a try!)
There are lots of different factors at play when it comes to the full maturity of your cabbage. The cabbage variety, the weather it grew up in, etc. So, a cabbage could be ready for harvest and look pretty small or they can be huge and ready to harvest. The way to tell is to grab the head and squeeze, if it’s solid, it’s ready to harvest! If you give it a good squeeze and you feel your fingers go in a good amount, wait another few days.
The cauliflower head is a collection of flower buds, so you want to harvest the head while it is white and before yellow buds start to open. You want the buds to be compact and for there to be a dense amount of buds. It’s hard to say exactly how long in diameter the cauliflower should be since each variety is different, so just go by the look and make sure you grab it before too many yellow buds open!
Lettuce is pretty easy, and this goes for the red and green varieties in your box! You can pluck off some lettuce leaves whenever you need to but just make sure you grab the leaves from the outermost bottom layer to keep the leaves in the center to continue growing more! You can keep doing this until the lettuce plant bolts, meaning flowers start growing from the center. Once it bolts, the lettuce turns mostly bitter tasting!
Peas are fun! Peas should be just about ready for harvest 3 weeks after the flowers appear. After those 3 weeks, pick and taste each day until they are just right. Once you taste what you like, harvest and enjoy!
Kale is similar to lettuce when it comes to harvesting. You want to wait until they’re about the size of your hand. Same with the lettuce, pick leaves from the outermost bottom layer to keep the plant growing from the center. Kale will replenish itself over time as long as the center is undisturbed.
Cauliflower and broccoli are also similar when it comes to harvesting. You'll know broccoli heads are ready when they're deep green with small, tightly packed buds. Harvest broccoli right away if it starts to flower or turn yellow!
Fennel could be a little tricky since the bulb that most eat grows under ground. The stems of the fennel can be harvested as soon as the plant bulb is starting to peek through. That’s a sign that the fennel is established enough that picking some of its leaves won’t harm it. But do only take a few at a time just to be careful not to harm the plant in any way. Once you see some of the bulbs peek out and it looks about the size of a tennis ball from the top, go ahead and harvest!
Brussels sprouts are ready to harvest when the tiny heads are firm, green, and 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Remove sprouts by twisting them until they break away from the plant. As you remove the lower sprouts, you can also remove yellowing leaves; the plant continues to grow upward, producing more leaves and sprouts!
Arugula is pretty fast growing just like lettuce is. You want to harvest leaf by leaf when they get to be 3-4 inches long. You want to pinch the outermost leaf from the bottom of the stem one by one. Take what you need and your plant will reproduce in just a couple of days!
And there we go! That’s how you harvest your veggies that come this season's Fall/Winter box! I hope this helps out a little with your harvest and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!