Growing and maintaining a backyard garden takes a lot of skill and dedication, and knowing when the perfect time to harvest your garden is requires a bit more experience. Here are a few pointers to ensure a bountiful yield.


As a general rule of thumb, the best harvest time is two to three weeks after the first bloom. For most fruits and veggies—depending on unique species requirements and planting periods—this harvesting time falls sometime between July and September. This is especially true for outdoor gardens with common produce such as tomatoes and salad greens. Around this time, fruits and vegetables are ripest and full of flavor.

Plant Language

Any green thumb will tell you that plants communicate to them in their own unique language—trust us, this isn’t crazy! You can actually tell a lot about a plant’s harvest status based on its appearance. For example, potatoes are ready when their tops die and recede; cucumbers are ready when their skin smooths out; and corn is good to go when the silks turn brown. An onion’s top will fall over when it reaches full size, whereas tomatoes will reach their true color (red, yellow, or orange) when they’re ready for harvest. Each fruit and veggie is different, so research the distinct “plant language” of your seeds to determine the optimal time for harvesting.

Time of Day

Here’s a pro tip: vegetables have better quality and taste when you harvest them in the morning rather than in the evening. Veggies absorb lots of water overnight and retain most of it during the early hours of the day before the sun evaporates their supply. This excess of water creates more sugars in the produce, resulting in crispier, sweeter vegetables.

Fruits, on the other hand, should be harvested at night if possible. This is when fruit contains the perfect balance of color, firmness, sugars, and acids. All of these aspects create a far tastier fruit. Pruning is also far easier to do at night, since plants are more relaxed.

Truly understanding the perfect time to harvest your garden requires experience, so start planting and perfect your harvesting skills! We at ARK Heirloom Seeds are here to help you with your journey—we carry organic, non-GMO heirloom seeds to ensure your yield is healthy and delicious.