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Friday, September 5, 2014

When Are the Harvest Times for Fall Produce?

Many of our customers use our products in vegetable or fruit gardens. As summer draws to a close, so does the harvest season for many favorite warm-season vegetables. However, fall brings in a bounty of its own that includes fruits, vegetables and even nuts. Harvest times for fall produce revolve around seasonal holidays as well as whether the growing region faces an early cold snap. Here are some general guidelines to help plan fall harvest times.

Apple harvest times vary based on the specific variety but generally run from early to late fall. Apples are ready for harvest when they detach from the tree easily with a gentle tug. If apples begin to fall to the ground, it’s a good indication that harvest time has arrived.

Pumpkins, Gourds and Winter Squash
Pumpkins, gourds and winter squash are often harvested before Halloween so that they can be used as decorations. If they are solely for a decorative purpose, these gourds can be harvested any time that they reach the desired size. For eating purposes, they should remain on the vine until a fingernail pressed into them leaves no indention. This means that the rind has hardened and the gourds will last longer in storage.

Cool-Season Leafy Crops
Many cool-season veggies are ready for harvest just in time to grace the Thanksgiving table. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and parsnips are slightly different in their harvest technique. The taste of these vegetables greatly improves after the first light frost. After the first frost, this produce should be harvested quickly before a hard frost kills them.

Fall is also the time of year that popular nuts ripen, such as pecans. This southern delicacy comes in several varieties with some ripening in late October and others in early December. Like apples, once the shells begin to fall to the ground, it is a good sign that the remaining nuts are ready for picking.

Sweet Potato
The sweet potato is another southern favorite widely used for Thanksgiving feasts. Unlike some other fall vegetables, these tubers should be dug up and stored before any threat of frost occurs.


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