Advanced Gardening Techniques

Plant Supports

Gardens will produce more in less area and quality will be higher if certain vegetables are grown vertically rather than horizontally. Vegetables grown vertically have an extended harvest season and are easier to spray, tend

Figure 14. Caging tomatoes reduces labor for supporting the plants and increases yield. Be sure to fasten cages to stakes driven into the ground.
Table 6. When to Harvest Garden Vegetables

Vegetable

Vegetable appearance

Asparagus

When spears are 6 to 9 inches tall.

Beans, lima

When pods are full but seeds are green.

Beans, snap

While pods snap easily and are still smooth.

Beets

1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inch beets have highest quality.

Broccoli

Before flowers show yellow color.

Cabbage

When heads become firm and heavy.

Cantaloupe

When melons can be lifted and the vine slips without pressure.

Carrot

Any time roots are firm and brittle.

Cauliflower

Before curd loosens and discolors.

Collard

When leaves are large but still green and firm.

Corn

When kernel juice is milky, silk begins to dry and ears are full to end.

Cucumber

When seeds are small, flesh is firm and color is green.

Eggplant

Before color begins to dull.

Kale

When leaves are large but before they yellow.

Kohlrabi

When 2 inches or more in diameter but still tender.

Lettuce

When tender and mild flavored. Before bolting.

Mustard

When leaves are crisp and tender.

Okra

When pods are 2 V2 to 3 V2 inches long.

Onion

For green onions: when bulb is 3/8 to 1 inch in diameter.

For storing: after the tops have died down.

Parsnip

After cool weather has improved quality.

Peas, English

After pods have filled but before they turn yellow.

Peas, snap

After pods form but before yellowing.

Peas, Southern

For fresh use or freezing: When pods shell easily.

For drying: After pods are dry and brittle.

Pepper, hot

After pods reach full size.

Pepper, sweet

When pods are full size and still firm.

Potato, Irish

For immediate use: After tubers are 1 inch in diameter.

For storage: After vines have died and skin has set.

Potato, sweet

After reaching desired size but before cool fall rains.

Pumpkin

After they are full grown and mature colored. Before frost.

Radish

When firm and brilliantly colored.

Rutabaga

Before becoming tough.

Spinach

When leaves are crisp and dark green.

Squash, summer

When large end is 1-2 V2 inches in diameter and skin is still tender.

Squash, winter

When rind is not easily scratched by fingernail.

Swiss, chard

When leaves are crisp, tender and still green.

Tomato

When fully colored but still firm.

Turnip greens

While leaves are green and crisp.

Turnip roots

After 2 inches in diameter but while still tender.

Watermelon

When tendrils adjacent to fruit die and rind on ground becomes yellow.

Figure 15. A double row of English peas 8 inches apart will increase yields and may be supported by a single netting.

through this tube. It is also possible to sidedress through irrigation water. More information on mulches may be obtained from Extension SP 291-H, "Mulching Home Gardens."

Figure 16. Apply organic mulches 2 to 3 inches deep around established plants after the soil warms up.
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