When To Harvest Vegetables

harvesting vegetables

To make life easier for would-be vegetable growers, we’ve compiled a harvesting guide for the most common UK-grown vegetables. Check out our fruit harvesting guide, too.

January

Kale – you can cut-and-come-again or cut the whole plant for a greater yield.
Leeks – you can leave these standing for longer, or dig them up a freezing spell is forecast.
Parsnips – you can cover them with fleece or straw to protect them from freezing solid.
Purple sprouting broccoli - cut your first spear (or flower shoot) when they are well formed but the tiny flower buds have not yet opened.
Swede – you can cover them with fleece or straw to protect them from freezing solid.

February

Chards – harvest early by just picking a few leaves at a time.
Beet leaves (perpetual spinach) – harvest early by just picking a few leaves at a time.
Brussels sprouts – tastier after a frost, harvest them from the ground up over the next few weeks.
Cabbages – don’t wait to long to harvest - cut the head once it's firm or it may split.
Carrots – pull them as soon as they reach a good size.
Chicory – use a sharp knife to cut these. Red varieties should be cut after a cold spell.
Endive – harvest by cutting the head from the root at soil level.
Kale – you can cut-and-come-again or cut the whole plant for a greater yield.
Leeks – you can leave these standing for longer, or dig them up a freezing spell is forecast.
Parsnips – you can cover them with fleece or straw to protect them from freezing solid.
Purple sprouting broccoli - cut the first spear when well formed but the tiny flower buds are not yet open.
Swede – you can cover them with fleece or straw to protect them from freezing solid.
Turnips – you can cover them with fleece or straw to protect them from freezing solid.
Salsify – these become sweeter after they’ve been harvested and stored for a few weeks.
Scorzonera – harvest as for salsify or leave up to April.

March

Brussels sprouts – harvest the last of these now.
Chard – the last of these will now be ready to be harvested.
Cauliflower – cut the last of these now.
Kale – the last of these will now be ready to be harvested.
Leeks – the last of these should come up now and be cooked and frozen if necessary.
Parsnips – pull up the last of these early in the month before they try to re-grow.
Purple sprouting broccoli – check this and keep an eye on it.
Radishes – harvest early ones while they’re small; wait to harvest winter ones after a frost.
Salsify – the last of these will now be ready to be harvested.
Scorzonera – harvest as for salsify or leave up to April.
Spinach beet – the last of these will now be ready.
Swede – the last of these will now be ready to be harvested.

April

Beetroot – ready about three months after sowing when they’re almost fist-sized.
Cabbages – don’t wait to long to harvest - cut the head once it's firm or it may split.
Mushrooms (log grown) – these can be harvested now.
New potatoes – ready 10 to 12 weeks after sowing, dig up the roots when the flowers. are open.
Scorzonera – harvest the last of these now.
Watercress – this can be harvested regularly from now on.

May

Asparagus – this might well be ready – keep an eye on it.
Broad beans – pick when seeds are small and the beans slender.
Beetroot
– ready about three months after sowing when they’re almost fist-sized.
Hardy lettuce – some early salad crops will be ready now.
Kale – cut-and-come-again or harvest all in one go.
Peas – harvest them when they’re bright green.
New potatoes – ready 10 to 12 weeks after sowing, dig up the roots when the flowers.
Potatoes – those grown undercover may be ready to be dug up.
Purple sprouting broccoli – this should be ready to be cut now.
Radishes – fast-growing varieties will be ready for pulling now.
Spring cabbage – this should be ready to be cut now – cut-and-come-again or harvest all in one go.
Spring onions – some early salad crops will be ready now.
Wild rocket – some early salad crops will be ready now.
Winter cauliflower – this should be ready to be cut now.

June

Asparagus – this luxury vegetable should be ready now.
Beetroot – ready about three months after sowing when they’re almost fist-sized.
Broad beans – pick when seeds are small and beans are slender.
Broccoli – harvest the main head before the buds open.
Carrots – pull them as soon as they reach a good size.
Cucumbers – harvest them when they’re around 15cm long.
Lettuce – harvest when the heads are firm.
New potatoes – ready 10 to 12 weeks after sowing, dig up the roots when the flowers.
Peas – harvest them when they’re bright green.
Potatoes – early ones will be ready from now on.
Radishes – fast-growing varieties will be ready for pulling now.
Spring onions – pull these from now through until October.
Summer cabbage – these should be ready now – harvest when the heads are firm.
Summer spinach – pick a few leaves at a time.
Turnips – early varieties will be ready now.

July

Beans (broad, French, runner) – pick when the beans are young and tender.
Broccoli – harvest the main head before the buds open.
Celery - lift the plants as and when you need them.
Carrots – drench the soil to make them easier to harvest.
Cauliflower – harvest when the head looks full.
Courgettes – harvest them when they’re around 15cm long.
Cucumbers – don’t let them mature on the vine.
Fennel – harvest when it’s about the size of a tennis ball.
Globe artichokes – pick before the scales have started to open.
Kale – cut-and-come-again or harvest all in one go.
Kohlrabi – harvest when it’s 5cm to 10cm wide.
Lettuce – harvest heads once they feel full and firm; leaf lettuces, harvest outer leaves.
Onions – dig up once the tops have ripened and fallen over.
Peas - sweeter if harvested before fully plumped, taste them to see if they’re sweet.
Potatoes - wait until the tops of the plants dry and turn brown.
Radishes – harvest when you see the shoulders of the bulbs popping out of the soil line.
Shallots – harvest the green tops and use them in salads.
Spinach - cut at the soil line before you see a flower stalk beginning to shoot up.
Spring onions – pull these from now through until October.
Sweetcorn – press a kernel with your fingernail – if it oozes a creamy liquid, it’s ready.
Tomatoes – if there's some give when you squeeze them, they're ready.
Turnips – early varieties will be ready now.

August

Aubergines - harvest when they're firm and shiny.
Beans (broad, French, runner) – pick when the beans are young and tender.
Broccoli – harvest the main head before the buds open and flowers appear.
Cabbages
– harvest it before the head splits open.
Carrots – harvest early unprotected crops now.
Cauliflowers – harvest when the head looks full.
Celery – lift the plants as and when you need them.
Courgettes – harvest them when they’re around 15cm long.
Cucumbers – don’t let them mature on the vine.
Fennel – harvest when it’s about the size of a tennis ball.
Globe artichokes – pick before the scales have started to open.
Kale – cut-and-come-again or harvest all in one go.
Kohlrabi – harvest when it’s 5cm to 10cm wide.
Leeks - harvest when they are around 2.5cm in diameter.
Lettuce – harvest heads once they feel full and firm; leaf lettuces, harvest outer leaves.
Onions – harvest these on a dry day.
Peas - sweeter if harvested before fully plumped, taste them to see if they’re sweet.
Potatoes - wait until the tops of the plants dry and turn brown.
Pumpkins - check the skin has hardened by poking it with your fingernail will not crack it.
Radishes – harvest when you see the shoulders of the bulbs popping out of the soil line.
Shallots – harvest green bulblets about 7 weeks after planting.
Spinach - cut at the soil line before you see a flower stalk beginning to shoot up.
Spring onions – pull these from now through until October.
Squash – pick when the skins are tender enough to poke your fingernail through.
Sweetcorn – press a kernel with your fingernail – if it oozes a creamy liquid, it’s ready.
Tomatoes – if there’s some give when squeezed they’re ready.
Turnips – continue to harvest these through to winter.

September

Aubergines – pick them from the greenhouse now.
Beans (French and runners) – these will be continuing to produce their crops.
Beetroot – ready about three months after sowing when they’re almost fist-sized.
Broccoli – harvest the main head before the buds open and flowers appear.
Cabbages
– harvest it before the head splits open.
Carrots – harvest early unprotected crops now.
Cauliflowers – harvest when the head looks full.
Celery – lift the plants as and when you need them.
Chilli peppers – pick them from the greenhouse now.
Courgettes – harvest them when they’re around 15cm long.
Cucumbers – don’t let them mature on the vine, pick them while they’re young.
Fennel – harvest when it’s about the size of a tennis ball.
Globe artichokes – pick before the scales have started to open.
Kale – cut-and-come-again or harvest all in one go.
Kohlrabi – harvest when it’s 5cm to 10cm wide.
Leeks – harvest when they are around 2.5cm in diameter.
Marrows – harvest them before they reach their full size.
Onions – harvest these on a dry day.
Parsnips – may be a good size, but tastier after a frost.
Peas – the last of these will be coming in now.
Potatoes - wait until the tops of the plants dry and turn brown.
Pumpkins - check the skin has hardened by poking it with your fingernail will not crack it.
Radishes – harvest when you see the shoulders of the bulbs popping out of the soil line.
Shallots – harvest mature bulbs when the tops wither.
Spinach - cut at the soil line before you see a flower stalk beginning to shoot up.
Spring onions – pull these from now through until October.
Sweetcorn – press a kernel with your fingernail – if it oozes a creamy liquid, it’s ready.
Sweet peppers – pick them from the greenhouse now.
Tomatoes – squeeze them, if there’s give they’re ready.
Turnips – continue to harvest these through to winter.

October

Beans – pick the last of these now.
Broccoli harvest the main head before the buds open and flowers appear.
Brussels sprouts harvest from the bottom of the plant.
Cabbages – the last of these should come up now.
Carrots continue to harvest these throughout the autumn.
Celeriac
– harvest after the first frost but before a hard freeze.
Celery
– lift the plants as and when you need them.
Kale
– cut-and-come-again or harvest all in one go.
Leeks
– harvest when they are around 2.5cm in diameter.
Mushrooms
(log grown) – these can be harvested now.
Parsnips
– you can cover them with fleece or straw to protect them from freezing solid.
Potatoes
– maincrops will be ready now.
Pumpkins
- don't leave them out if a hard frost is expected.
Spring onions – pull the last of these now.
Squash – when it turns the right colour pick it – don’t let it get frost bitten.
Swede – leave them in the ground until they’ve endured a couple of frosts.
Tomatoes
– any green ones on outdoor plants should come indoors to ripen up.
Turnips – continue to harvest these through to winter.

November

Brussels sprouts – the arrival of hard frosts means you should harvest these now.
Carrots – pull these up and store them somewhere cool.
Cauliflowers – cut now before the arrival of hard frosts.
Celeriac – harvest after the first frost but before the first really hard freeze.
Celery – you could still be harvesting these now.
Jerusalem artichokes – these are ready to harvest now.
Kale – you could still be harvesting these now.
Kohl rabi – you could still be harvesting these now.
Leeks – these should be just about ready by now.
Parsnips – these can be left standing but protect from frost.
Pumpkins - don't leave them out if a hard frost is expected.
Salsify – start on these now.
Scorzonera – harvest as for salsify or leave up to April.
Spinach – you could still be harvesting these now.
Swede – you could still be harvesting these now.
Turnips – you can harvest maincrop varieties now.
Winter cabbages – the arrival of hard frosts means you should harvest these now.

December

Brussels sprouts – harvest from the bottom of the plant.
Carrots – pull these up and store them somewhere cool.
Cauliflowers – harvest before the arrival of hard frosts.
Celeriac
– harvest after the first frost but before a hard freeze.
Celery – lift these now – or leave them but protect from frost.
Chicory – use a sharp knife to cut these. Red varieties should be cut after a cold spell.
Endive – harvest by cutting the head from the root at soil level.
Kale – you could still be harvesting these now.
Kohl rabi – you could still be harvesting these now.
Leeks – take what you need and leave the rest to stand.
Parsnips – lift these now – or leave them in the ground but protect from frost.
Perpetual spinach – harvest these – take the whole plant or cut-and-come-again.
Pumpkins - don't leave them out if a hard frost is expected.
Salsify – these become sweeter after they’ve been harvested and stored for a few weeks.
Scorzonera – continue to harvest these.
Spinach – take the whole plant or cut-and-come-again.
Swede – lift these now or leave them but protect from frost.
Turnips – lift these now or leave them but protect from frost.
Winter radishes – these should be ready for pulling now.

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