Summer Harvest Guide

Enjoy the garden harvest all year with this plant-by-plant guide to harvesting and storing your favorite crops.

| July/August 2013

In summer, the eating is easy. Step out to the garden, pick a few fresh plants and get ready for a mouthwatering dinner. But this time of year, it can also feel overwhelming to keep up with the harvest and to make good use of all the bounty our gardens are producing. This plant-by-plant guide will help you determine the best time and methods to harvest the most popular garden vegetables—and what to do to preserve your produce so none of your gardening effort goes to waste.


Harvesting Carrots: Carrots become sweeter in the fall, when soil temperatures cool down. In some climates, gardeners leave carrots in the ground through winter, but it is safest to harvest them before hard freezes become common. 

Storing Carrots: After pulling or digging carrots, trim tops back to ½ inch, wash gently in cool water and pat dry. Refrigerate carrots in plastic bags, or pack them in damp sand in a sealed container and store in a cold basement, garage or root cellar. Carrots also can be blanched—quickly dunked in boiling water, then cooled in an ice bath—and frozen. 


Harvesting Garlic: Garlic cloves planted in late fall or early spring grow into upright plants with a new garlic bulb at their base. When the plants are about 60 percent green, with fewer than six leaves still green and healthy, loosen the soil with a digging fork and then pull plants.

Storing Garlic: Cure freshly pulled garlic by setting it in a warm (80 degrees or warmer), well-ventilated place for at least two weeks. Trim back tops to 4 inches and clip off the roots, and then cure another week. Before storing cured garlic, trim tops to 1 inch and remove only the dirtiest outer wrappers from the bulbs. Store garlic in boxes or mesh bags in a cool place with moderate humidity, such as a cool basement. 

Green beans

Harvesting Green Beans: Pick crisp, tender pods that haven’t yet begun to develop tough pod strings.

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