Garden Vegetables

Harvest More – And Your Plants will Produce More

If you want to get as much of a harvest as possible from almost any of your vegetables and fruits, a good principle to remember is the more you harvest the more the plant produces.  If you stop the harvest and the fruits or vegetables remain on the plant, the plant will stop producing.

An Example

A friend of ours would never pick his tomatoes until bright red because he thought if they weren’t vine ripened they wouldn’t taste as good. Needless to say, his plants stopped producing literally months before mine did.

After letting him taste some of my tomatoes that were picked when they were almost all red and then allowed to ripen in the house, he was shocked that they were just as good as his vine ripened ones.

Let’s talk Peppers

A reader of TMG, who is a long time gardener, brought up an excellent point by leaving a comment on my post Peppers – Almost an Extra Month of Red Ones.  She said:

  • “I have found that when a pepper turns red it signals the plant that it doesn’t need to keep producing as much. To counter this, earlier in the season I wait until a pepper shows a little red before picking it. It continues ripening to full red once it has started, even on the kitchen counter. Later in the season, when any new fruit would be caught by frost before ripening anyway, I let the peppers fully ripen on the bush.”

Ripening off the Plant

Although I have on several occasions picked peppers that showed a little red and left them to ripen on a counter, I have not had the success that this reader has had with this very convenient method.

The peppers look great for about 3 days and continue to turn red;  but after that they loose the quality of a freshly picked pepper.  The skin becomes not as turgid as when it was harvested.  I feel at this point, they loose some of their nutrient value as well as their good looks.

Memo: Peppers picked and held in the crisper box of the refrigerator will keep beautifully from 2 to 4 weeks.  Keep in mind however, that one picked before it’s fully red will not ripen further in the refrigerator.

Clarification on the Signal to Quit

Just to clarify — one pepper turning red will not signal the plant to stop producing.  Just as one or two tomatoes or strawberries on a plant will not signal the tomato plant or strawberry plant to stop producing.  (And I don’t think my reader meant to imply that just one would send up the signal for the plant to call it quits.)

It’s the plant that has all its peppers turning red — with none of it’s fruit being picked — that will “think” it’s finished producing new fruit and it’s only job is to finish ripening what’s left.

How I Make Sure they Keep On Producing

To make sure my plants keep producing as long as possible — but maybe not quite as abundantly as possible — I pick some of the peppers  when they’re big, but still green.

I usually choose the ones that are not as perfectly shaped as others, or maybe have a bug hole, or seem to be “just smaller” than the others. And of course, as soon as my peppers are really red — I harvest them that day.

So — from a plant that gives me lots of red peppers — I probably don’t get quite the number of peppers as my reader.  But I get a LOT — both red and green. And my plants are still producing when frost comes.

How I Make Sure we get Enough

Now that I’ve become a red pepper fanatic, I don’t know that it’s going to be possible for me to get as many as I really want.  But it will be possible to get a lot.

I usually plant at least 12 pepper plants.  I harvest at least 5 or more peppers per day for a four to five month period. To be conservative in my estimate, let’s say 4 months x 30 days = 120 days x 5 peppers = 600 peppers.  Pretty conservative figure, and I think the real figure would be closer to a 1,000 peppers.

I know you must be wondering what in the world we do with all those peppers.  Well —  we eat them.  If you are not depending on your garden for most of your food — you probably will not relate.  But — red peppers especially are easily devoured for mid day snacks and lunch.  Green peppers are usually cooked in various dishes for dinner.  And then of course, I like some frozen for winter.

If I can find a place in the garden, I’ll plant more peppers this year.

The Bottom Line on How to Harvest More Peppers

Sow bountifully to reap bountifully. Then harvest more so your plants will produce more.

Related Posts

Almost An Extra Month of Red Ones


Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot healthier.


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  • Unfortunately — like everyone — we have our share of health problems — but I would hate to think of what they would be if we had not had our food from the garden. As a matter of fact — the few problems we do have — stem from EATING OUT!!! If only I had known the situation with the food industry 10 years ago — I would never have touched any food but mine (and organic).

    My other secret to good health — is staying away from doctors. (Not mainstream — but it’s kept us going.) My findings have been — if you take responsibility for your own health and learn how to take care of yourself —- you have a far better chance for good health than if you look to doctors. Again — it’s not popular — but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Very interesting. We DO tend to want to look to others to take responsibility for us, don’t we. Then we can blame them if they don’t ‘protect’ us from our mistakes. I guess this is not relevant for this blog, but I would love to hear more about staying away from doctors sometime.

  • Email me Sandra and let me know more specifically what you’d like to know.
    Basically — I think we have to spend a life time searching and learning how to take care of ourselves. Doctors are mainstream and so promoted that many wouldn’t think of not doing everything they say. The facts are that most doctors know about drugs and treating symptoms with drugs only. They do not treat the cause of the disease and they know very little about health. What a healthy world it would be if children could be taught how to take care of themselves and keep themselves healthy. But most of us don’t know ourselves the secrets to health, much less be able to teach them to our children.

    There are a lot of statistics that give proof you have a better chance staying away from hospitals and doctors than you so if you frequent them. It’s a responsibility most don’t want to take.

    End of Rant — email me for more. 🙂

  • Theresa, I’m glad I reread this post & comments. I’ve been fighting mouth ulcers & a sore throat for several days. Usually I would give in by now & go to the Dr, but after a SERIOUS allergic reaction to benedryl in the office (we didn’t know at the time it was the benedryl) they are scared to give me any meds, so I’m having to learn what to do to help myself heal & not having yet another Dr bill is wonderful.
    I agree with Sandra. Please share more on how you’ve learned to help your bodies stay healthy. We all need all of the help we can get in this area of our lives.
    Thanks for sharing,

  • Betty, I think often of the many posts I’d like to write about the simple things that can keep one well. But then I wonder how it will be received and if it’s really wanted. People are so programmed to turn to doctors and the really simple things that one can do to stay good health are not know or ignored. I’ll give this some more thought and think about doing a small report on how Bill and I have stayed away from the doctors for more than 45 years. I think it would help people like you who are sincerely looking for the information.
    Thanks Betty.

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