Toronto Harvest Guide 2017

Uncategorized - Sep 12 2017

Fall has arrived! Okay, we know it’s not until September 22nd, but we are already thinking crisp and cozy thoughts. This is the time of year to begin raking leaves, canning fruits and creating all things pumpkin spice. While pumpkin spice is delicious, today we are going to talk about something a little closer to nature: the pumpkin itself. That’s right, it’s Harvest Season! We are here to give you the definitive guide to harvesting your vegetables this fall. For those of you who didn’t put down a vegetable garden this year (don’t worry, there’s always next year) you can use this guide to help with your farmer’s market purchases to be sure you’re buying fruits and vegetables at their peak harvesting season.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. October 19th the predicted date of the first fall frost of 2017. That means we enjoyed 173 days of a wonderful growing season.
Now is the time to benefit from all of that hard work and settle in for winter.

When it comes time to harvest vegetables, bigger is not always better.

When it comes time to harvest vegetables, bigger is not always better.  It’s important to harvest your vegetables when they’re at their peak flavor. For most vegetables and fruits, this means picking them just before they reach full maturity. The following is our guide to help you know when to harvest to make the most of your garden in Ontario.


– Spears should be 6 inches in length and have tightly closed tips


– Snaps beans should be thick as a pencil and are ready to be picked before the seeds bulge and become visible through the pods.


– These can be harvested at any time throughout the season; the larger the beet the more woody the flavor. Look for small to medium sized roots about 1 1/2 to 3 inches. On top you want the greens to be healthy and green with no wilting (remember the greens are edible too and should be harvested once they’re 4 to 6 inches long)


– Look for a dark blue-green color and compact buds. If you wait until the underside of the top turns yellow then it’s overripe.

Brussels Sprouts

– Harvest the buds when they’ve reached 1 inch in diameter and start from the bottom of the stalk first. Brussels Sprouts are hearty and actually improve in flavor after a light frost. Take your time and let this crop fully yield.


– Carrots are the sweetest when they’re young (kind of like people.) When they reach 1 inch in diameter they’ve reached maturity. Look for bright color on both the carrot and the leaves and avoid stalks that are split, as they are often bitter.

Corn – This crop will begin to lose its flavor as soon as it’s picked. Look at the kernels. They should be bright and plump with a milky liquid inside (if it’s too dry or too watery it’s not ready.) Harvest these early in the morning and be sure to eat them within 72 hours for the best flavor.


– The paper should be tight and unbroken. Look for yellow tops and avoid bulbs with sprouts.


– This super green is going to be the most tender when it’s younger. The best time to harvest is when the leaves are the size of your hand.


– The tops are going to tell you everything you need to know about the onions. When they turn brown and fall over you know they’re ready to be pulled from the ground. Let the bulbs dry out for a few days before cutting off the roots and tops for storage.


– For peppers, the longer they are left on the vine the sweeter they become. If you’re craving a little heat, leave hot peppers on the vine to get that kick.


– They will be ready to harvest when the skin hardens. Test the flesh by pressing into it with your fingernail. If you have to work at it, the pumpkin is ready. Get ready for pumpkin spice and jack-o-lanterns.


– follow the same rules as kale.

Summer Squashes

– Pick your yellow squash and zucchini when they’re 4-8 inches long and still tender. They should feel firm and heavy. When picked at the right time your crop will continue to yield veggies long into the season.

Sweet Potatoes

– Dig in when the vines turn yellow and the body is firm. These need to be out of the ground before the first frost.


– The best ones will be the size of a golf ball and a rich color.


For a printable guide click here

Didn’t get in on the vegetable garden this year? Call Elm Landscaping to plant your garden for Summer 2018 and think ahead to the wonderful harvest that is to come.

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