Vegetable harvest tips

Wed. Oct. 5, 2016

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Vegetable harvest tips

By this time your veggie garden is nearly compost, or is it?

Harvest the root crops you plan on eating soon but you can leave some carrots, late planted radishes, beets and turnips in the ground for winter harvest.  Once the topsoil has become crunchy with frost, mulch those root crops with straw or evergreen branches.  Then harvest at will or until the ground has frozen to the point you can’t dig them out.  You could be munching on a fresh carrot in December!

harvest large

Carrots 'Purple Dragon'
Carrots ‘Purple Dragon’

If you plan on keeping your tomatoes green, store them in a cool spot about 55 degrees in humid air.–  You can also store sweet potatoes and winter squash this way.—I once lived in an old farmhouse that still had a root cellar, it was the best room in that house.  Some folks are making a modern version of the root cellar in their newer homes.  You can do this by insulating a small basement room that has 2 outside walls and closing off heat to the room.–

Root cellar

Root cellar

If you’ve got an asparagus bed, leave the stems and leaves.  They help catch snow which makes for an excellent mulch.  – If your rhubarb is still around you can make one more rhubarb harvest before a killing frost!   It won’t hurt your plant and the stems are still good.  Once we’ve had a hard frost, cut the plant back and remove any debris.  –

Rhubarb plant

Rhubarb plant

Cut back any vines or stalks from your veggie garden to eliminate any disease issues and get that compost working in your veggie garden.  I leave behind some of the green beans that I didn’t get at, the fallen leaves I’ve shredded.  I could also fork in grass clippings.

My raised bed is 4 years old and last year I sent soil samples off to the University of Minnesota Soil Lab.  I was quite surprised to find that it had too much potassium and phosphorus and not nearly enough nitrogen.   I’ve since taken out the soil, replaced it with soil I got from my local nursery and have added much needed compost.


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