Episode 107: Harvesting For Quality and Production with Colin McCrate

Nantes carrots

Nantes carrots

Learning proper harvest timing and technique can help increase yields and ensure you get the best tasting produce from your garden. In this episode, Hilary and Colin talk harvesting methodology. They break down the techniques into five categories to help you make the most of your bounty.


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The Five General Harvesting Methods for Annual Crops:

  • Cut and come again:

    • Baby salad greens

    • Cilantro

    • Herbs such as: Parsley*, Chives*, Oregano*, Thyme*

  • Leaf harvesting

    • Kale

    • Chard

    • Collards

  • Pinching

    • Basil

    • Branching flowers such as sweet peas, stock and zinnias

  • Pulling the entire plant

    • Carrots

    • Beets

    • Kohlrabi

    • Bulbing onions

    • Garlic

    • Head lettuce/Radicchio

    • Cabbage

    • Fennel

  • Picking individual fruit

    • Picking to increase production

      • Snap peas

      • Snap beans

      • Tomatoes

      • Tomatillos

      • Peppers

      • Eggplant

    • Picking once plant has died back

      • Winter squash

      • Legumes for drying

    *Not technically annual crops


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The following shows a season-long crop rotation for 1/2 of a 4×8’ raised bed. In the first image, the bed is planted in garlic and spring bulbling alliums. In the second image they’ve been harvested and the space has been re-seeded in beets and bush beans. The third image show’s the mature beets and bush beans.

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Books By Colin McCrate: (Check out Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard for detailed harvesting instructions)

By Colin McCrate, Brad Halm

By Colin McCrate, Brad Halm


Or, check out Sarah’s comprehensive harvesting webinar here: Reaping The Rewards: Harvesting Techniques For Quality And Production

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Colin McCrate_Encyclopedia Botanica_Hilary Dahl

More about this weeks guest expert:

Colin McCrate is the founder of the Seattle Urban Farm Co. He has been growing food organically for over 15 years and has designed and has managed projects ranging from multi-acre farms to small backyard gardens. The author of two books; Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard (Mountaineers Books, 2012) and The High-Yield Garden Planner (Storey Publishing, 2015); and the Seattle Times garden writer. He believes that urban food production can help increase public awareness of environmental, health, and social issues.  

Hilary Dahl_Seattle Urban Farm Co.

About the Host:

Hello, I’m Hilary Dahl. Outside of this podcast, my job is to help beginning and experienced growers create beautiful and productive gardens. I have the unique experience of working in on a wide range of projects, from small backyard garden plots to multi-acre vegetable farms. I also work in my own garden every day when I get home. This podcast is an opportunity to discuss seasonal garden topics and share the the joy of growing your own food. 

Original source: https://www.seattleurbanfarmco.com/blog/2017/6/16/encyclopedia-botanica-podcast-episode-58-3b9n3-8gbz3-289s6-36t7g-874zj-78p5k-ke3ss-srdn2-cygb5-dtnr5-at9yd-zd47a-n8fcb-tsd23-rtaj8-n3228-8r86x-ydgl4-a4g8e-2kdzh-za6tk-emfkj-afjst

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