Harvesting Your Fall Vegetables

Fall is a wonderful time to reap the benefits of spring and summer planting.  Whether your vegetables are in container gardens, planting beds, or you incorporated edibles into flower beds, now is the time that many of these vegetables are ready to harvest.  Hopefully you have kept track of what you planted and when each is ready to be harvested.  If not, some simple examination of your plants is a good indicator of when they are ready for harvesting.

Early Fall Harvesting

October and early November are the prime time in the Washington D.C. area to harvest many root vegetables including beets, carrots, onions, radishes and sweet potatoes.  To check and see if they are ready, loosen the soil and gently pull one of them up.   Keep in mind that root vegetables are more tender when they are smaller.  As they grow large, they can become tougher and pungent.  Pick green beans just before they are full size to ensure that the seeds inside the pods are still tender.   To get the most out of your lettuce, cut the leaves while they are still tender and young and the same plant “come back” again typically three or four times.

Late Fall Harvesting

Fortunately, there are some vegetables that grow tastier after a few blasts of cooler weather. Heavy frosts can actually sweeten some crops such as Brussel sprouts.  Pick Brussel sprouts when they are approximately one inch in diameter.  The lower sprouts will be the first to mature followed by the upper ones a few days later.  Pick broccoli when the buds of the head appear firm and tight.  This is also the time to harvest greens such as kale, spinach, and Swiss chard.

Local gardeners and landscapers can also provide tips and advice for fall and winter gardening. At Shorb Landscaping, our professional team is here to help with all your gardening questions.  You can call us at 301-897-3503.