You should harvest your carrots when they are one- to two-inches thick. IF you planted spring carrots, be sure to pick them before the hot weather arrives (for most regions, that is July). Carrots planted in the fall should be harvested before the ground freezes. If you wish to harvest later, be sure to mulch heavily around the vegetables.
Sweet corn shows its ready for harvest in a number of ways. The tip of the corn will feel full through the husk. The silks will be dry and the kernels will appear full. You can easily check the maturity by opening the top of an ear and pressing a kernel with your thumbnail. If it exudes a milky sap, it's ready to be picked.
The tops will show signs of slowing down by taking on a yellow color. Don't wait until the leaves all turn brown and fall over. Be sure to remove garlic from the ground when plants still have at least some green leaves. You want to remove garlic without damaging the precious heads and retain most of the paperlike bulb wrappers around the bulb.
Depending on how you will use them, harvest onions based on the plant's height. Harvest at 1/4 inch to 1 inch for fresh table use and 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch for boiling and pickling. If you are using them for storage and general cooking, you can harvest when tops have fallen over and necks are shriveled. Mature bulbs will not be dented by fingers. Cure onions by placing them in a single layer or a mesh bag in a dry, well-ventilated area and out of direct sunlight for three to four weeks. Trim tops to one inch when completely dry.
New potatoes should be harvested two weeks after blooms appear. You can harvest main crop after tops have died down and the ground is dry. Be sure to dig carefully to avoid bruising. It's important to allow surface dry time. Cure potatoes for 10 to 14 days in a dark, well-ventilated place. The temperature should be 45 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Tomatoes should be uniformly red during harvest and the ends should be firm. (A ripe tomato should sink in water.) A vine-ripened tomato is the sweetest. However, a tomato will continue to ripen off the vine if picked green. If you harvest green tomatoes before frost, wrap them in newspaper and store at 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Tomatoes stored this way should last three-to-five weeks. Remember to inspect each week for ripeness.
Mature winter squash will be hard and impervious to scratching by your thumbnail. Harvest squash before the first hard frost with a sharp knife, leaving at least 1 inch of stem attached. They should be cured in a well-ventilated area for 10 days at 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
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