In this article we will discuss about the month, duration and season suitable for harvesting the following types of vegetables: 1. Cabbage 2. Cauliflower 3. Knolkhol 4. Brussels Sprouts 5. Sweet Potato 6. Brinjal 7. Tomato 8. Chili 9. Capsicum or Green Pepper 10. Lady’s Finger 11. Radish 12. Carrot 13. Turnip 14. Beet 15. Elephant Foot 16. Onion 17. Garlic 18. Indian Bean 19. Pumpkin and a Few Others.
1. Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata):
The harvesting time of the crop after transplanting depends on variety as follows:
Early variety – 70-80 days.
Late variety – 100-120 days.
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) is harvested when the heads are large and firm enough for use. Harvesting is done by sickle or any other convenient implement. The head is grasped with left hand, bent slightly and cut off with heavy knife or sickle or hatchet. Stems should be 1/4-1/2 inch long. The outer leaves of each head are removed from the solid head giving a better appearance and convenience in handling.
2. Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis L):
The harvesting of Cauliflower (Brassica oleracea. var. botrytis) after harvesting varies according to the variety as follows:
Early variety – 60- 70 days.
Mid-season variety – 90- 100 days.
Late variety – 110-120 days.
(Brassica oleracea var. botrytis)
The high grade Cauliflower head has a solid and compact head and is white in colour. The crop should be harvested when the reaches a proper size and bright in colour. The head should be compact but has not broken into segments. Harvesting is done as and when the heads are well developed. The head is grasped by left hand, bent and cut off well below with sickle or knife or hatchet.
The heads and leaves are trimmed with a knife. The leaves should be cut of about an inch (2.5 cm.) above the head. The stubs thus left protect the head from injury during transporting to the market. As the whole crop does not mature at a time, several cuttings are necessary. Harvesting should be done either in evening or early in the morning, so that the produce is not damage before it reaches in the market.
3. Knolkhol (Brassica caulorapa L):
Knolkhol (Brassica caulorapa) should be harvested when the swollen stem reaches a diameter of 5-7 cm. and before it becomes tough and woody. The plants are pulled out from the land. It is generally marketed after removing both roots and leaves.
4. Brussels Sprouts (Brassica oleracea L var. gemifera De):
The Brussels sprout (Brassica oleracca L var gemifera De.) takes about 120 days to form sprouts in Northern India. The sprouts should be harvested when they reach the maximum size and become firm. Delay in harvesting leads to bolting to the sprouts.
5. Sweet Potato (lpomea batatas Lam):
Sweet potato (lpomea batatas lam.) becomes ready for harvesting from 105-150 days after planting. The crop is harvested when the leaves turn pale and later turn slightly yellow and the cut surface dries up quickly and does not turn black as that of immature tubers. The vines are removed by cutting and then harvesting of tuber is tone with the help of a spade. The green vines may be fed to the cattle.
Sweet potato (lpomoea batata sliem) should be stored in well ventilated tubers for one week after curing properly. The quality of cured tubers was markedly superior to that of uncured tubers. It is recommended to cure the tubers at 29°C and to store them at 13°C to 15°C with 85-90 percent relative humidity at all times.
6. Brinjal (Solarium melongena):
The fruits of Brinjal (Solatium melongena) are harvested when they attain good size and colour but still they are immature. Mature fruits are desirable as the mature fruits are suitable for consumption due to having mature seeds. Fruits are allowed to attain a good size and colour till they do not lose the bright and glossy appearance. Harvesting is done by detaching the fruits from the branches/stem by hand.
7. Tomato (Solarium lycopersicon):
The stage of maturity at which the fruits of Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are to be harvested depends on the purpose for which they are grown. 3-4 months growing period is required for the cultivation of the crop.
According to the use of fruit, they are harvested in the following stages:
(1) Green stage – The fruits of Tomatoes (Solarium lycopersicum) in the green stage are harvested for the distant market.
(2) Pink Stage – The fruits, in the pink stage, become red in colour. But the fruits are not fully ripe. The fruits of this crop are harvested in this stage for local market.
(3) Ripe stage – The surface of most fruits at ripe stage is red in colour and softening of fruits begins. The fruits are harvested for use at home or table purposes in this stage.
(4) Full ripe stage – Maximum colour development of the fruits at full ripe stage occurs and they feel soft to touch. The fruits are ordinary used within 24 hours of picking and are consumed or used for canning and pickling.
The fruits of Tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum) are generally picked in the evening and sold away in the morning in the local market.
8. Chili (Capsicum Sp):
Chili (Capsicum sp) becomes ready for harvesting in about 65-70 DAP in North India and 90-105 DAP (Days after planting) in South India. Chilies which are used for vegetables purposes are generally harvested while they are still green but full grown. Chilies used for drying for use in future are harvested at full ripe stage.
Chilies (capsicum sp) are sold in fresh condition soon after picking. The ripe fruits can be very well ripened by staking them indoors for 2-3 days at 21.6°C to 25°C. Dried fruits of the can be kept for longer time provided they are stored in dry places and protected from the attack of insect pests.
9. Capsicum or Green Pepper (Capsicum annum var. grossum):
Capsicum (Capsicum annum) is used as vegetable and commonly known as ‘ Sweet pepper’ or Simla mirch’. The green peppers are generally harvested when they are still green, but full grown, fruits are picked up at frequent interval preferably twice a week. The fruits become ready for harvesting within 65-75 days from transplanting. The stem of the plant is used for extraction of fiber.
10. Lady’s Finger (Okra or Bhindi) (Abelmoschus esculentusL):
Bhindi (Abelmoschus esculentus L) is one of the popular vegetable in India. It is cultivated extensively all the year round for its immature fruits. The fruits are used as vegetable. The stem of the plant is used for extraction of fiber. The young fruits can be harvested in the morning. Delay in harvesting may make the fruits fibrous and they lose their tenderness and taste.
11. Radish (Raphanus sativus L):
Radish (Raphans sativus L) is a popular and important root vegetable throughout India. It is cultivated for its edible root and becomes ready for harvesting after sowing in five to six weeks. The crop should be harvested according to the variety, when the roots are still tender and crisp.
The entire crop is not harvested from the whole field at one time. But they are harvested as and when they become big enough for the market or home consumption. The crop should be harvested at proper time. A few days delay in harvesting, particularly temperate type makes roots pithy and quite unsuitable for the market.
12. Carrot (Dancus carota L):
Carrot (Dancus Carota L) is a winter season root crop and grown all over the India. It is used for human consumption as well as forage and particularly for feeding for horses. When the roots of the crop are 2.5-3.7 cm in diameter at the upper end, they may be harvested. They are normally harvested, when the soil is sufficiently moist, with spade or khurpi after removing the tops which are close to the ground. The roots are trimmed and washed in water and then they send to the market for sale.
13. Turnip (Brassica rapa L):
Turnip (Brassica rapa L) is a popular root vegetable and is grown as winter vegetable in the North-Western states of India. It is used as salad, cooked or pickled. It is cultivated for its root, green leaves and for feeding green fodder for cattle. When the roots of the crop are 5.0-7.5 cm. in diameter, they may be harvested.
Chauhan (1968) states that if they are harvested late, the roots become hard and fibrous and deteriorate rapidly in quality. Alexander. et. al (1969) reported that the method of pulling was very important factor in the shelf life of packed turnip (Brassica rapa L), when smooth surfaced tuber lasted much longer than abrasion pulled tuber ones.
14. Beet (Beta vulgaris L):
Best (Beta rulgans L) is also a root crop. It is used as a vegetable and is also grown for processing. Beet (Beta vulgaris L) is eaten raw as salad and cooked with other vegetable. The crop takes about 6-7 months to mature and becomes ready for harvest in the month of January-February. The crop is harvested by digging with spade or by country plough.
15. Elephant Foot (Amorphophalus Campanulatus Blume):
Elephant foot (Amor phophalus campanulotus Bliume) is an economical crop. It is cultivated for its corm and is used as vegetable. The crop is harvested when the tops start withering in the month of October-November and it is done by digging the corms individually by a spade.
16. Onion (Allium cepa L):
Onion (Allium Cepa L) is one of the most important commercial vegetable crops in India. The demand of the crop is Worldwide. It is used both in raw and mature bulb stage as vegetable and spices. Onion (Allium copa L) sown for green vegetable purposes is pulled out by hand when they are at edible stage. The bulb crop becomes ready for harvest in three to five months after transplanting depending on the variety. Maturity is indicated by top falling over while the leaves are still green.
The Crop should be harvested when the tops are fallen over and the leaves have turned yellow. The bulbs are pulled out of the soil or they are dug up from the soil by spade or khurpi. The edible portion is modified stem known as ‘bulb’ which develops underground.
The harvested Crops are soon removed into shade for curing. The bulb is generally stored by spreading them in a thin layer over damp proof floor in a well-ventilated and airy room. They must be turned periodically and rotten and sprouted ones should be removed from the whole bulk.
17. Garlic (Allium sativum L):
Garlic (Allium sativum L) is one of the important bulb crop. It is used as a spice or condiment throughout India. The compound bulb of the crop consists of several small bulblets or cloves. Garlic (Allium satirum L) is a crop of four and half to five month’s duration. When the leaves start turning yellowish or brownish and show signs of drying up (usually about a month or so for emergence of seed stock), the crop is ready for harvest. The plants are pulled or uprooted with spade or khurpi.
The harvesting plants are tied into bundles and kept under shade for 2-3 days for curing. The bulb may be stored by hanging them on bamboo sticks or by keeping them on dry sand on the floor in well ventilated room for well cured. Garlic (Allium satirum L) bulb can be kept for one to one and half months in ordinary well ventilated room, but if dust smoke can be given to the bulbs, they can be stored for eight to ten months. The crop can also be stored at 0°C (32°F) with 60 percent relative humidity.
18. Indian Bean (Dolichos lablab L):
Indian bean (Dolichos lablab L) is primarily grown for its green pod. The young pods are generally cooked as vegetable. The Indian bean becomes ready for harvesting after two and half to three months of sowing. The full grown Pod is harvested according to the need by hand picking.
19. Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata Poir):
Pumkin (Cucurbita moschata Poir) is one of the most important cucubitaceous vegetable crops. They are used as cooked vegetable. It is harvested in green stage or mature stage according to the demand of the market by hand picking. The fruits can be stored for few months in well ventilated rooms.
20. Bottle Gourd (Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl.):
Bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) is very important crop in India. The fruits in green stage and leaves with stem are used as vegetable. The hard shell of the fruit is used for different purposes. The fruits should be harvested when they are still green. The fruits are harvested by cutting with sickle. Delay in harvesting causes the fruits to become unfit for marketing as well as use in home.
21. Bitter Gourd (Memordica charatia Linn):
Bitter gourd (Memordica charatia Linn) is one of the most popular cucurbitaceous vegetable. The harvesting of the crop is done when the fruits are still young and tender at every alternate day. Picking should be done carefully so that the vines may not be damaged. The fruits should not be allowed to mature on the vines. The harvested fruits may be stored for 3-4 days in cool condition.
22. Ridge Gourd or Ribbed Gourd (Liffa acutangula Roxb):
Ridge gourd (Liuffa acutangula Roxb) is used as vegetable. The fruits of the crop become ready for harvest from 55-60 DAS (Days after sowing).The full grown tender fruits should be harvested at weekly intervals by cutting them with knife.
23. Cucumber (Cucumis sativasL):
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L) is an important cucurbitaceous vegetable grown throughout the year. The tender fruits of the crop are eaten raw or with salt in salard. The fruit of the crop is also used as cooked vegetable. It is reported that the oil extracted from seeds is good for brain and body.
Drinking of water immediately after eating the finest of the crop should be avoided, as it sometimes cause severe indigestion. The full grown tender fruits should be harvested at an interval of two to four days. Timely picking is more important in regard to quality.
24. Pointed Gourd (Trichosanthes dioica):
The Pointed gourd (Trichosanthes dioica) is most important vegetable crop. It is most nutritive and wholesome vegetable. It is very digestible, diuretic and laxative and it is also useful for heart and brain and in disorder of circulatory system. The pointed gourd starts fruiting from February in West Bengal and later in other states like Bihar. The fruits are harvested at immature stage, but full grown at least twice a week, when they are tender green and contain immature seeds. The harvesting is done by hand picking.
25. Water Melon (Citrullus vulgaris Schard):
The (Citrullus vulgaris Schard) Watermelon is a common summer crop. It is generally grown for its ripe and well mature fruit. The fruits are delicious and sweet when ripe.
The plants bear fruits in 4-5 months after sowing. The water melon should be harvested at proper stage of maturity.
According to Chauhan (1968), the following points give an indication of ripeness:
(a) Withering of tendrils – The tendril that subtends the peduncle of the fruit, usually wither when the fruits ripe and water melon seldom ripe if the tendril is still green. But it may be unripe, if the tendril is dried in some varieties.
(b) Thumbing – Ripe fruit, when thumped with finger, gives muffled dull or dead sound.
Whereas the immature fruits give metallic and ringing sound.
(c) Colour of the ground spot – It is white when fruits are green and they rest over it. When the fruits are ripe, they change to yellow.
(d) Pressure on the fruits – A ripe water melon (Citrullus vulgaris Schard) emits a crisp cracking noise on being pressed with the flat of the hand. Moreover, rind of a ripe fruit yields little cracking noise under the pressure of the thumb. In some varieties, even slight pressure will crack the fruit.
If the fruits are allowed to over ripen, the pulp loses the sweetness and soon develops an off flavor and rot. It is, therefore, very necessary that they should be harvested at the full ripe stage. Because, they are ripen very little on their way to market.