fresh picked tomatoes and raddishes

There's plenty to do this time of year in the garden, but nothing better than getting to harvest the fruits of your labor!

Tomato plant full of fruit

Your tomatoes should have plenty of fruit set by now, and you're probably just now seeing some ripeness, especially with the recent hot temperatures. Of course, that all depends on the variety and when and how you planted them.  If you forgot or didn't take the time to jot the projected harvest time down in your garden journal, just know that tomatoes are ripe when easily removable from the stem. Or, try our favorite method: tasting a few to make sure they are ready.  Some folks pick green tomatoes and ripen them indoors. We recommend letting them ripen on the vine until they are juicy.

Berries, such as many varieties of blackberries, loganberries, boysenberries, and Oregon's favorite marionberries, are all ripe and ready to pick this time of year. August is also the culmination of a two-year growing cycle of blueberries. Freeze your berries for later use if you can resist eating them all as you pick 'em.

Now is the time to pick and store carrots, parsnips and beets. Cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash are all lovely right now as well.

Potatoes are ripe when their tops lie down. Once harvested, remember store potatoes in a cool, dark location.

We hope you enjoy your garden all year round, but there's something extra special about a warm summer evening on the deck when you're able to serve up something from your garden. A fresh salad with your own cherry tomatoes and freshly picked cucumbers, roasted root vegetables with fresh rosemary, and maybe a little mixed berry crumble for dessert. Keep it simple and let your garden rewards speak for themselves.

You can read more about harvesting in late summer by visiting OSU Master Gardener's website.

Should you find yourself with a few too many zucchini this year, Al's has a solution. Once again, Al's is participating in a program called Ample Harvest. This simple program helps get fresh produce to those that need it. Here's how it works:

  1. Average gardener -- YES, YOU -- deliver your garden surplus to any one of our four Al's Garden & Home locations every Sunday & Monday from August 13 - September 25.
  2. Al's collects all produce donated, and delivers it to local area food banks on Tuesdays.
  3. Community members in need of food assistance can visit their local food bank on Wednesdays and collect traditional dry good food staples, along with fresh produce!

You -- YES, YOU -- can make a positive impact on the health of your community!

To learn more about this program please visit