Simply yanking your vegetables off the branch or out of the ground is not the proper technique for harvesting your crops. Unless we’re talking about corn. Then it’s pretty much twist and yank the ear off the stalk. The rest of the time, however, using the proper tools is the safest way to harvest your crops with minimal damage to not only the remaining plant but to what you just harvested. You don’t want to bruise or crush your produce.
Your garden fork that worked so well in tilling your soil before you planted anything will come in handy once again when harvesting. It is particularly helpful when digging up root crops, as it loosens the soil around the roots for easier pulling. For a quality garden fork made of oak and stainless steel alloy with a lifetime warranty, visit my Garden Preparation Tools post for a link to order a garden fork as part of a set, or visit the Amazon.Com link below to order a lone fork:
A sturdy pair of sharp garden shears will be invaluable to you when harvesting such crops as chili peppers, green beans, lettuce, spinach, and even squash. For a solid pair with a non-slip grip, click on the Amazon.Com link below:
There are many garden knives to choose from, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to have more than one type. We recommend two in particular:
The Japanese Hori Hori - also useful for digging, planting, transplanting, and weeding. In other words, it’s not just for harvesting! A great all-purpose tool to have around. Click on the Amazon.Com link below to purchase one:
The Japanese Sickle - an extremely sharp harvesting tool useful for such sturdy crops as asparagus, broccoli, and cabbage. You can very quickly and easily amputate a finger or a toe, or cut a very deep and nasty gash with those serrated teeth, so wear thick gloves, long pants, and sturdy shoes…and be extremely careful! Click on the Amazon.Com link below to purchase one:
Garden Harvest Containers
Unless your garden is gargantuan, you will not need a wheelbarrow to harvest your crops. This is, after all, about urban organic gardening as opposed to being out on the Back 40 in the country. But you will need something to put your harvested crops in so you can transport them into the house to prepare for eating or storage.
Baskets – good for harvesting small amounts at a time, such as picking green beans, chili peppers, a few tomatoes, and lettuce or spinach leaves for a salad; also good for any berries in small amounts as well.
Buckets – good for sturdy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, ears of corn, and smaller winter squash (the larger ones such as pumpkins you may just have to carry one or two at a time; also for fruits such as apples and pears.
Shallow trays – good for soft vegetables like chili peppers, green beans, tomatoes, and summer squash or zucchini; also for softer fruits such as cherries, peaches, plums, or any berries.