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Make the Most of Your Fall Harvest

Get bigger yields, better flavor, and more nutritional value from your vegetable garden with proper harvesting.

Pick beans when the pod is nearly full size but before the seeds begin to bulge. Lumpy beans are edible, just not as tasty.

Harvest cucumbers based on their use. Pick the fruit when its 1 1/2 to 2 1/inches long for sweet pickles, and 3 to 4 inches when making dills. Harvest slicing cucumbers when the skin is firm, bright green and the fruit is 6 to 9 inches long.

Misshapen and bitter flavored cucumbers are usually the result of drought, improper fertilization, and large fluctuations in temperatures.

Peppers are ready to harvest when the pepper is firm and fully colored. Leave them on the plant a bit longer for a sweeter tasting pepper.

Ripe tomatoes taste even better if left on the plant for an extra 5 to 8 warm days.

A bit more information: Increase your cabbage harvest without increasing your planting space and number of plants grown. Just change your harvesting habits. Remove full sized cabbage by cutting just beneath the head. Leave the lower leaves, stem, and roots intact. Then wait for 4 or 5 more heads to develop. Harvest these smaller heads when they are about 4 inches in diameter.

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