If you plant in mid- to late spring, beans continue to set through most of the summer if you keep picking them. For best flavor, pick them when they are thinner than a pencil.
Test Garden Tip: For variety, harvest some immature, or baby, beans and add them to salads. They have a slightly different flavor when they're young.
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Don't wait for the broccoli in your garden to get as big as the ones you see at the grocery store to pick them; home-grown plants rarely reach that size. Cut the primary crown (where the individual heads come together) when it's about 4 inches across.
Test Garden Tip: Give your broccoli an extra dose of plant food and a crop of new flower heads will start to form where the leaves join the main stem.
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Carrots are fully ripe when their shoulders reach up out of the ground and the leaves turn a rich, darker green than they were during the growing season.
Test Garden Tip: If you get impatient, you can harvest carrots as soon as they're large enough to eat. Plant extra so you can harvest baby carrots during the growing season while you wait for them to fully mature.
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If you grow newer corn hybrids, they'll hold their flavor for a week or maybe more. But regardless of the type, it's best to wait until the silks at the ear tips turn brown. Feel the ears and make sure they're full and solid.
Test Garden Tip: If you're not sure, peel back the shuck and pierce a kernel with your fingernail. If the juice looks milky, your corn is ready. If the juice is clear, give the corn a little more time.
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Watch for cantaloupes to be ripe when they bear a yellowish color on the bottom of the fruit. Look for a brown line around where the stem attaches to the fruit. For watermelons, the best indicators are that the curly tendrils closest to the fruit turn brown and dry, the fruit goes from shiny to dull, and when the bottom of the watermelon (where it sits on the soil) goes from light green to yellowish.
Get more tips on growing melons.
Okra matures fast -- harvest the pods about four days after the flowers close. Pick the pods before they become tough; this is usually when they're about 4 inches long.
Test Garden Tip: Cut off any old, over-mature pods. If you leave them on, your okra won't continue to produce as well.
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One good indicator that your onions are ready is when the foliage topples over. Dig the bulbs and store them in a dry place to cure for at least a week.
Test Garden Tip: If your onions bloom, harvest the blooms and use them in salads for extra flavor.
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