Harvest time

Activity

Know when your vegetables are ready to pick and eat and learn how to harvest them carefully.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outoors
  • School term: Early Autumn, Late Spring, Early Summer, Late Summer
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Maths, Science

Learning objectives

  • Learn when vegetables are ready to harvest
  • Weigh the produce to sell and record the yield

Essential background information

Preparation

Visit the vegetable garden and assess which vegetables are ready to pick or dig up.
Use the Harvesting Vegetables Checklist to help with this.
Water the crops the day before to make the soil easier to dig if root crops are to be harvested.

Equipment needed

  • Containers such as buckets, bags or trugs
  • Scissors or secateurs, hand forks and large forks 
  • Watering cans, buckets and water for cleaning the vegetables
  • String and weighing scales

Step by step

  1. Decide how the vegetables are to be harvested – either using scissors or by hand or dig them up using tools.
  2. For root vegetables, dig carefully using a large fork to loosen the soil around the vegetable plants to avoid spearing the roots. Adults can help younger learners here by loosening the soil first and then they can pull up the vegetables by holding onto the leaves.
  3. For peas and beans, make sure learners know the size to pick. Leave any small ones on the plant for future harvests and try not to damage the plant so it can keep growing.
  4. For leafy vegetables, pick quickly and store in a plastic bag with some water sprayed inside. Tie up to seal in moisture and prevent wilting.
  5. Wash muddy vegetables to make them presentable.
  6. If time, you can weigh the total harvest of a particular crop, or divide the harvest accurately into suitable sized portions.

Hints & tips

  • Potatoes need to be left in the open for a couple of hours for the skins to harden, so harvest into open trays.
  • Sell your produce to fundraise for your school garden.
  • Use this activity as part of Grow Your Own Lunch class growing topic

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