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Properly Harvest Fruits and Veggies to Prevent Damage

Properly harvesting fruits and veggies without damage, for the most part, requires the use of two hands. You need one to hold the stem securely, the other to pull. Be methodical and do it right to keep healthy plants.

Thick Stemmed Plants

Thicker stemmed veggies should be harvested with a sharp set of pruners. Squash and okra have thicker stems, so snip the stem just above the fruit. Winter squash and gourds must have a little extra stem attached in order for them to store well, so leave at least 1 inch of stem when you harvest.

Thin Stemmed Plants

Vegetables like peppers and tomatoes with thin stems can easily be pulled off without a cutting tool. You can’t go in and just give it a good yank, unless you want to pull the plant out of the ground or break a branch. Hold the stem with one hand and gently remove the fruit with the other.

Root Vegetables

Heavy clay soil can make harvesting root veggies difficult, especially when it’s dry. Before harvesting turnips, onions or garlic, loosen the soil around the plant with a spading fork. If the roots don’t come up with a gentle pull, while leaving the stems fully attach, keep loosening the soil.

Leafy Greens

Use a sharp pair of garden scissors to harvest green, leafy things like kale and lettuce, although breaking them off at the base of each leaf works pretty well. Veggies that form heads like cabbage and head lettuces can be cut with a sharp knife at the base of the plant, above the lowest leaves.

Teach everyone in your house, and everyone who visits your garden, to properly harvest fruits and veggies to prevent damage. There's nothing worse than coming out to the garden to find a lot of man-made damage. Work slowly and carefully to keep plants healthy.

What is your favorite harvesting tool?



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