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Horticulture and Home Pest News
Horticulture & Home Pest News is filled with articles on current horticulture, plant care, pest management, and common household pests written by Iowa State University Extension specialists in the Departments of Entomology, Horticulture and Plant Pathology.

Harvest Waiting Periods for Vegetables and Fruits

This article was published originally on 5/24/2013

 As gardeners plant their vegetables and fruits, they anxiously look forward to their first harvest. For some vegetables, the wait is short. Radishes may be ready to harvest in 20 days. However, some small fruits and tree fruits should not be allowed to bear fruit for a specific period of time.  Any blossoms that form during this period should be removed to allow for maximum vegetative growth, resulting in higher yields in later years.  Asparagus also needs to be well established before plants are harvested. The harvest waiting period for several vegetables and fruits are listed below.
 
Asparagus
 
No asparagus spears should be harvested during the first growing season.  Asparagus can be harvested over a three to four week period during its second growing season.  In following years, asparagus plantings can be harvested until early to mid-June. 
 
Rhubarb
 
After planting rhubarb, it's best to wait two years (growing seasons) before harvesting any stalks.  Rhubarb can be harvested over a four week period in the third year.  In the fourth and succeeding years, stalks can be harvested for eight to ten weeks. 
 
Apples and Other Tree Fruits
 
Remove all fruit that form during the first three growing seasons. 
 
Blueberries
 
Remove all blossoms which form during the first two growing seasons. 
 
Grapes
 
Remove any flower/fruit clusters that appear in the second year.  Depending on the vigor of the cultivar, the first harvest of grapes should be in the third or fourth year. 
 
Strawberries
 
During the first growing season, all the blossoms should be removed from June-bearing strawberries.  Check the strawberry plants once a week and remove the blossoms by pinching or cutting.  Flower production on June-bearing strawberries should stop by early July.
 
Remove the flowers on everbearing and day-neutral strawberries for six weeks after planting to allow for good plant establishment.  Later flowers may be allowed to develop into fruit.
 
The establishment period for some vegetables and fruits is critical. If not harvested or allowed to fruit during this period, they should reward us with bountiful crops for many years.