What is the greatest time of year to harvest tomatoes? It’s one of the most often asked questions as we get closer to that time and the temptation to harvest gets greater by the day.
As a tomato achieves maturity and the fruit becomes light green, it starts the ripening process, which is controlled by ethylene, an internal gas generated inside the fruit.
Although tomatoes have their best taste, nutrition, and color when they are fully ripe, this does not have to happen on the plant.
When the tomato reaches a stage when it is approximately 12 green and 12 pink (referred to as the ‘breaker stage,’ it may be picked and ripened off the vine without losing taste, quality, or nutrients.
After selected, you may also speed up or slow down the ripening process by increasing the temperature (to an optimum of 85°F) or reducing the temperature (to a minimum of 50°F).
Although it may sound tempting to leave fruit on the plant to enjoy that ripe vine tomato, you might want to consider the risks of doing so. We’ve all had that time when we waited a day, or even a few hours, too long and then regretted it.
A sudden shower can cause that perfect tomato to split or crack as the roots take up a bit more water than the fruit can bear. The internal pressure exerted by the developing fruit on the skin is just too much. The end outcome is splitting. Or a bird, squirrel, raccoon or any other of many critters might try and sample that tomato before you do.
It’s a regular event and, in my opinion, not worth the risk. Instead, harvest at or shortly after the breaker stage, with the confidence of knowing your tomatoes will be every bit as good as if you left them on the vine, but without the risk of any number of things you can’t control.
Should I pick my tomatoes before they turn red?
It’s ideal to let tomatoes mature completely on the vine.
Grocery store suppliers typically harvest tomatoes when they are just beginning to show color so the fruits can ripen in transit. Yet, vine-ripened tomatoes have the finest taste.
What happens if you pick a tomato too soon?
Harvest whatever is ripe.
But when you harvest as much as possible as soon as possible, your plant focuses its energy on the unripe produce that remains. Tower Tip: Several crops, such peppers and tomatoes, may be harvested and eaten while still green, causing the fruits left behind to develop quicker.
How do you know when a tomato is ripe?
Although color is the most obvious indicator of ripeness, feel is equally essential. Unripe tomatoes are solid to the touch, and overripe tomatoes are quite squishy. A ripe, ready-to-pick tomato should be firm, but have a little give when pressed gently with a finger or carefully squeezed.
What are the signs of over watering tomato plants?
Overwatered plants may have wilted or yellowed stems and leaves, or the leaves might develop bumps and blisters or fall off entirely if plants continue to get too much water. When the situation is serious enough, checking the roots is another technique to distinguish between overwatered and underwatered plants.