Very Fine Vine Vegetables (Part 2)

Whew!! I cannot believe that you came back for more!  There is way to much information to take in about gardening and I thought that maybe your brain was on overload like mine always is. So you made it to the second section of Very Fine Vine Vegetables with only a little more to hear about those precious vines!

Hacking the Harvest for my Vine Vegetables

Many people grow some of these vine vegetables that can be some of the most important of the fall season.  During Halloween many people pick pumpkins for carving, but what about for eating, what about the squash.  Squash much like pumpkin is terrific for decoration, but at the same time they are delicious tasting.  Knowing when to pick many of the vine vegetables can be a terrific addition for the fall decor and Thanksgiving table.

  • Peppers: have quite a number of varieties and different styles, between sweet peppers and hot peppers identifying when a pepper is ready to pick is vital to perfect flavor.  With so many different varieties of peppers these ar
    e the best guidelines to follow when selecting which peppers to pick.

    • Harvest Time: Early June to Late July (ideal time period, but can be picked as late as end of August)
    • Size: 3.5 inches to 4.5 inches
    • How to Pick: Clip from vines with scissors, hand pruners or a sharp knife to prevent damage to remaining vines.  Wear gloves always when handling hot peppers/wash hand rigorously.
    • Signs of Ripeness: Pick sweet peppers when full size and firm.  Peppers sweeten when they change color from Green to yellow, orange then red.
  • Pumpkins: are so commonly used for Harvest season and Halloween, but what about eating pumpkins?  Pumpkin pie is one of my favorites for Thanksgiving, but how do we know when to harvest pumpkins to make pumpkin pie?
    • Harvest Time: Mid Septemberto late October
    • How to Pick: cut from vine with sharp knife or shears (to protect plant from rotting & illness. Leave at least 2 inches of stem on pumpkin.
    • Signs of Ripeness:Color – deep consistent orange color.
      • Skin –  a hard skin will only dent but not pierce the out shell. 
      • Stem – stiff stem is also a good indication of ripeness
      • Sounds – much like a watermelon good thumb or slap can indicate a ripe pumpkin if it sounds hollow. 
  • Squash:   is used in many delicious dishes as we roll in to the depth of Fall. Squash can be used for soups or just scooped from the squash.  I love some fresh Acorn squash, but let’s take a look at how to pick the best squash since there are quite a few different varieties. 
    • Harvest Time: Mid June to Late October (Depending on variety)
    • Size: sometimes you can use the size of the squash to determine whether to pick, typically the smaller have better flavor.
      • Summer Squash – Under 6 inches long
      • Pattypan Squash – 2-3 inches
    • How to Pick: Cut with at least 1 inch of stem left on with a knife or sharp shears
    • Signs of Ripeness: Here are some good general indications of ripeness for squash.
      • Summer Squash: young & easily scratched by a fingernail.
      • Winter Squash: skin cannot be scratched by fingernails.
      • Acorn Squash: dark green in color
      • Butternut Squash: fully tan
      • Zucchini: firm, healthy dark green skin (depending on variety),
  • Tomatoes: FullSizeRender (3)
    • Harvest Time: Mid July to late September
    • How to Pick: you can easily twist the tomato off the vine or clip off the vine with a sharp knife or scissors
    • Signs of Ripeness: consistent red color over entire tomato
      • Can be picked when still green if tomato has slight tinge of color change & slightly softer fruits. These will ripen off vine.
      • Green tomatoes can also be harvested for some forms of cooking, should be full size.


With all the varieties of vine vegetables there are we have just as many variables for growing to consider, but you can easily use these general guidelines no matter where you live to start harvesting YOUR own vegetables.

Do you have any tips to picking your favorite Vine Vegetables?