When to Harvest

You’ve spent all spring and summer working hard in your garden—now it’s time to reap what you’ve sown.


When to Harvest CucumbersCucumbers
For pickling: Harvest sweet pickles when they are 2 to 4 inches long and dills at 3 to 6 inches. Check out our recipe for Refrigerator Pickles.

For slicing: Cut from vine when cukes are a deep green, the seeds are still soft, and the fruit is 6 to 8 inches long. (Some Armenian and Japanese varieties reach 20 inches!)

“Don’t let cucumbers grow too big, because the seed cavities will get more developed, which makes them less crispy and more bitter,” advises Debbie Leung, OG Test Gardener in Olympia, Washington.

Leave a short stem and harvest often.


When to Harvest EggplantEggplant

  • Fruit is purple to black, with shiny, firm skin.
  • If fruit is overripe, seeds are hard and flesh separates into stringy channels.

When to Harvest LettuceLettuce

  • Instead of one fell swoop of decapitation, "pick individual leaves when they reach your preferred size," Leung says.
  • "Pick from the bottom of the plant to let it keep growing. New leaves grow from the middle. Whole heads are ready as soon as they are full and the middle feels solid."
  • When the middle starts to elongate, the plant will flower, turning the leaves bitter.

When to Harvest OnionsOnions

  • Green onions/scallions (immature): Pick as soon as they reach desired size.
  • Storage onions (mature): When about half of the top leaves dry out and topple, push the rest of the leaves over and leave the onions in the soil to cure for a week.
  • Bulbs should be 2 to 3 inches in diameter.