How to Extend Your Harvest | Almanac.com

How to Extend Your Harvest


Top 6 Ways to Stretch Your Growing Season

Catherine Boeckmann

Are your beans, tomatoes, and garden crops still producing? There are ways to extend that season just a bit longer. We’ll show you 6 techniques.

How to Extend Your Harvesting

1. Keep on Picking  
Allowing zucchini to grow into marrows slows down the production of new flowers and fruits, and beans will stop producing new pods if the ones already on the plant are left to dry out.

Check plants often and harvest fruits and pods before they get too large or over-ripe. If you’re going away from home for more than a few days, ask your neighbors to harvest them – they’ll get free food and you’ll come home to continued pickings!

2. Keep Watering 
Fruit and pod-producing vegetables are particularly thirsty, and water-stressed plants don’t produce well. Water regularly for consistent soil moisture to help plants continue to produce plenty of well-formed fruits and pods, and avoid problems such as blossom end rot or fruits splitting.

3. Continue Feeding Plants
Continue to water organic liquid fertilizer on to hungry fruiting vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant every week or two to insure more fruits of better quality.

4. Top Up Mulches  
Top up mulches with new material such as seed-free straw or grass clippings, which is plentiful during the summer to help keep roots cool and moist during hot, dry-weather.

5. Reduce Shade
Consider cutting back any overhanging foliage, and remove spent crops promptly so that those that remain can bask in sunshine and enjoy good air circulation.

In cooler climates, wash off or remove any greenhouse shading to trap more of the late summer sunshine.

6. Keep Plants Warm 
Later on in the season plants can be persuaded to keep cropping for a week or two longer using a floating row cover. Remove covers during the day to enable pollination and replace it in the evening to keep plants cozy.

Learn more about row covers, cold frames, and other season extenders.


Anne Studley (not verified)

3 years 7 months ago

Thank you for this informative video. Will letting a few beans stay on the vine to produce seeds for next year's planting while picking all of the others still cause the plant to stop producing and start to die?

When some pods are allowed to reach maturity the plant assumes its work is done as it has produced the next generation of beans, so it won’t continue to produce lots of pods. 

The best way to save seeds is to pick the strongest plant (i.e., with good genetics which work well in your garden) and save seeds from that one plant, letting all its pods reach maturity. Then harvest all the beans from the other plants so that they keep producing.