Harvest Window for Vegetables

weirdtrevFebruary 18, 2011

I am looking for a resource that defines how long various crops will remain ripe. I am not looking for the harvest approximation on the back of the package (like 100 days after planting or whatever), what I want is the window of time that plants are ripe. Say for a tomato maybe it only stays fully ripe for a week before it begins to rot on the plant. Or maybe sweet corn has a window of a few days before the kernals start hardening and becoming not optimal for eating.

The reason I ask is because I volunteer at a children's garden and they only come once every other week so growing crops that won't remain ripe for two weeks makes no sense. Like tomatoes, we get so many rotten ones it is barely worth growing them cause the kids don't come in between the classes to harvest. Now stuff like carrots and potatoes or peppers work much better because they remain edible much longer. I just want to know if there is a table out there somewhere that has all this information.

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I imagine with tomatos that they are all different. but remember ripe tomatos really bring out the insects,some birds and rodents. I think they sense the sugars. one little hole can rot a fruit quickly. the mountain series of tomatos have a good shelf life after picking, but I pick once they are slighty under ripe . Not many people leave their tomatos on the vine very long once they are ripe.
Sun sugar cherry tomato last quite a while during ripe period but a big rain can split most of them.
Stagger your tomato varietys and use earlys,mid seasons and later varietys. Your bound to have some ripe at any given week throughout the summer.
As far as root crops they can stay in the ground-Beets,carrots,potatos,etc.
Peas have a very short window and as far as Sweet corn plant mid, and a couple of later varietys at least 4 rows of each variety to get a decent pollination and plant varietys that do not require isolation.
Stagger your beans so you have some ready at all times.
It just takes a little experience and you will figure it all out.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 12:25PM
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Hmm thank you that is all good information. But more what I am trying to get at is that we don't want to have so much waste. We want to choose crops that the kids can go two weeks without harvesting. I have a pretty good feel for it, but I am sure somewhere there is a resouce that someone made with how often you need to check certain crops during the harvest.

Each kid has a 3' x 3' area that we don't touch (other than the ocassional watering) and it is depressing to see that their hard work rotted away. This year we are saying no tomatoes in their plots and we'll have a separate community tomato patch. We have other areas that the volunteers maintain and harvest, where we can grow anything. However, for the kids garden I don't want their hard work to be wasted.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 2:40PM
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weirdtrev ,this may help

Here is a link that might be useful: veggie harvest time

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 2:58PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I would suggest most root vegetable, turnips, carrots, radish, beets, potatoes, onions, leeks, or green onions

What about cabbage, bok choy, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, gourds, popcorn?


    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 3:32PM
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I think the root vegetables are a great idea, that is what I am leaning towards. Also sweet potatoes, pumpkins, gourds and popcorn are all things I plan for us to grow. However, those would be in the community areas as they take up space and cannot be confined to a 3' x 3' area easily.

The harvest time chart does help, maybe what I am looking for doesn't exist. I was thinking along the lines of how often you need to check your crop to ensure a good harvest. Such as pick summer squash every other day. The type of info I was thinking was, for the market gardeners out there, how often do you send pickers into a patch of cucumbers (or whatever) to ensure that your product isn't wasted and is harvested timely.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 4:32PM
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We pick our summer squash (zucchini) every 2-3 days, but we also sell several sizes of squash. Your winter squash, pumpkins and the like will be able to stay on the vine longer. Cucumbers need to be pick every 2-3 days. Commercial fields are picked daily to keep the same sized item. I know there are several zucchinis that are left in the commercial fields to rot because they are too big.

Perhaps sunflowers might be a better idea for your kids.


    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 6:58PM
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A unique plant to consider is cotton, especially if you start it from seed indoors (Unless you have a long growing season). I bought Nankeen seeds from Baker Creek last year and I know you can let the bolls stay on the plant for a long time.

Another plant I tried last year, and had great success with was Mennonite Sorghum, especially if you have access to a wringer washer.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 11:06AM
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Root vegetable sounds like a really good idea. Can�t wait to try them myself.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 6:44AM
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