Saturday, September 03, 2022

GardenDC Podcast Episode 118: Is It Ripe Yet? How To Tell When To Harvest

In this episode, we talk with returning guest Doug Oster about how to tell when fruits and vegetables are ripe and when to harvest them. The plant profile is on Okra and we share what's going on in the garden as well as some upcoming local gardening events.

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SHOW NOTES: 01:00 Re-introducing Doug Oster 01:22 When is it ripe? When is it edible? 01:26 Doug jokes about knowing when something is ripe – “It always is a quandary.” 01:52 What most people know about produce and produce quality 02:19 Garden grown produce versus grocery store 02:27 Doug’s opinion on harvesting 02:50 Harvesting in the cool of the morning 03:06 Watering 03:24 Is it too late to harvest? 03:29 Growing and harvesting by season 04:40 Doug’s Duke Mayo Dip Recipe 04:51 Garden harvesting in the fall 04:48 Busy time of year for garden production 06:10 Skipping harvesting days 06:14 Check under your cucumber plant’s leaves 06:18 Growing and harvesting zucchini 06:20 Zucchini 06:40 Pollinators and zucchini growth 07:01 Problems with pollination 07:20 Pollinating by hand 07:39 Issues with squashes and watermelons due to pollination issues 07:57 Honey bees and native pollinators declining 08:04 Benefits of having honey bees in your garden 08:09 Gardening with honey bees 08:22 Cucumbers, cucumber beetles as pollinators and bacterial wilt disease 08:42 Powdery mildew issues 09:45 Scarlet runner beans and morning glory 09:58 How growing cucumbers up helps with powdery mildew 10:06 Cucumber Harvesting 10:30 Harvesting small cucumbers 11:00 You can harvest cucumbers at any stage 11:20 Harvesting cucumbers at smaller stages 12:07 Growing and harvesting okra 12:27 Uses for okra 13:25 Squash and pumpkin (relatives to cucumber and zucchini) 13:32 Eating versus storing squash 13:40 When and how to pick squash 13:57 Storing squash—“You never wanna knock the stem off of it.” –Doug 14:11 Number one winter vegetable 14:31 Cutting squash off the stem 14:40 Squash handle helps with storage 15:09 Pumpkins and the Mid-Atlantic 15:29 Harvesting early because of critters 15:33 Harvesting, ripeness and critters 16:09 Deer got into Doug’s garden 17:12 Kathy jokes about the critters waiting for ripeness with you 17:23 Ripe sugar baby watermelons ruined by critters 17:55 Pawpaw fruit 19:13 When a pawpaw is ready to be harvested 19:43 Harvesting Mulberry trees 20:16 Figs 20:31 Fig Ripeness 21:02 How Doug checks figs for ripeness 21:36 Tree Fruit Ripeness 21:48 Pear ripeness 22:00 Checking for peach ripeness 22:20 Critters indicating ripeness 22:39 Apples ripeness 24:37 Berries, ripeness and harvesting 25:36 Doug’s childhood and blackberry picking 26:05 Blueberries 26:50 Serviceberry ripeness by color 27:10 Strawberries 27:22 White strawberries 28:53 Tomatoes 29:12 Juliette Tomatoes 31:30 Green Zebra ripeness indicators 33:24 Pepper Ripeness 33:27 Pepper Ripeness phases 33:54 Doug on pepper ripeness stages 34:17 Buena Mulata Pepper 35:14 Sweet Super Chili Pepper 36:40 Tomatillo and Eggplant 37:02 When to pick tomatillos 37:24 When to pick eggplant 40:16 Root Vegetables 41:07 Doug on picking carrots and radishes early 41:24 Doug on harvesting carrots, beets and potatoes during a thaw 41:42 Harvesting radishes 42:31 Carrot shoulders 42:54 Potatoes 43:46 Sweet Potatoes 44:54 Cure time and harvesting 45:15 Curing time and garlic 46:37 Conditions needed for curing 47:52 Corn and when to pick it 48:07 Doug jokes, “The time to harvest your corn is the day before the racoons do.” 48:15 Doug shares a story about how raccoons destroyed a community garden’s corn 48:58 Things to look for when checking corn for critter damage 49:09 Corn ripeness, squeezing the kernels to check for a milky white substance 49:20 Kathy adds on how to check for corn ripeness 49:43 Why it’s tough to grow corn 50:06 Harvesting corn “The water is boiling when you go out to harvest.” –Doug 50:47 Free classes being taught by Doug every Thursday for the next nine weeks 50:52 Get in touch with Doug and classes he teaches on his website: www. 51:39 “Even though we are talking about harvesting, don’t stop planting. When you choose the right plant for the right place, you could be gardening year-round.” –Doug 52:33 Learn about Okra in this week’s Plant Profile 54:37 What’s new in the community garden this week 55:07 What’s new in the home garden 55:28 News in the local gardening world

If you liked this episode, you may also enjoy listening to:
GardenDC Podcast Episode 68: Summer Vegetables
GardenDC Podcast Episode 4: All About Tomatoes

This episode is archived online at: 

We welcome your questions and comments! You can leave a voice mail message for us at: Note that we may use these messages on a future episode.

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Episode Credits:
Host and Producer: Kathy Jentz
Editing: Brandie Bland
Show Notes: 
Brandie Bland and Jaime Breeden


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