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Do My Own Gardening - Harvesting Tomatoes

By DoMyOwn staff

The time has finally arrived for us to harvest some tomatoes from our little garden! In this video Paul will go over the signs to look out for to know when tomatoes are rip for picking and how you should pick the tomatoes off the plant.

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Video Transcript

All good things come to those that wait. And wait we have!

Just look at these beauties! Finally! Finally ready for some picking. We've got some back there to. The time has come to pick and harvest out tomatoes.

The sweet 100's have already been ripening so we've been picking and snacking on those for awhile now, but we'll go ahead and pick a lot of those today as well.

And why I decided to do this at three o'clock in the afternoon when it feels like a thousand degrees outside with about nine hundred percent humidity, in long black pants, I'll never know.

As usual, before we start picking some tomatoes, I wanted to discuss a few things first.

How to pick and harvest tomatoes is the question we're aiming to answer today!

The first thing that we have to understand are what kind of tomatoes we're actually growing in our garden. Simply look at the tag or packaging of the seeds or plants that you're putting in the garden. That should tell you if they're determinate or indeterminate, how many days it will take for them to ripen before you can harvest them, all of that good stuff should be on that little information tag.

You'll want to take note of this, write it down on a calendar, may be look at the day you planted, count out how many days from that planting date, for the time of ripening and harvest, and take note of the garden and keep an eye on it around that time so you know when to go out there and expect your tomatoes to be ripened and ready to pick.

Most tomato variety plants you'll start picking and harvesting 60 to 85 days after planting in your garden. And harvesting can continue all the way up until you have a first frost. Especially if you have some indeterminate in your garden.

And obviously early varieties are going to ripen much faster than mid season varieties and you can start picking those out earlier. Kind of like our sweet 100s versus our early girls.

Now what are the actual tell tell signs of when a tomato is ready and rip for picking?

Color is everything! Most tomatoes, they're red. SO when they turn red it's ready to be picked off the plant. Yellow for yellow tomatoes, pink for pink, you get the idea.

The other thing when it comes to the color, you want to make sure that the color is even all the way around the fruit. So in other words if a tomato actually rip and it's red, it will have no green spots anywhere on the fruit and you are able to pick it off.

Now there are some special exceptions to that, but we'll get to those in a minute.

The other sign that it's rip and ready for picking is that it's going to be a little bit soft. Most gardeners will say when it's right in between firm and soft when you go to squeeze it, that's when you know it's ready to be picked off the plant.

Going back to special harvesting, let's talk about special varieties like heirloom and cherry tomatoes.

Heirloom variety tomatoes are going to ripen before they turn their full color. It's recommended that you should pick these type tomatoes before they fully ripen.

Cherry tomatoes will crack if you leave them on the plant too long, so you want to pick them off before they become fully rip.

Looks really are everything. Tomatoes ripen from the inside out. So if it looks rip on the outside, it's rip on the inside. Pick them!

The other thing to note is that tomatoes need warmth, not light, to ripen up. So they can still ripen even though it's a cloudy over cast kind of day so long as it's warm.

Tomatoes are going to stop ripening as soon as temperatures get above 86 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a string of warm weather or you live you in an area that has consistently hot summer days, tomatoes might ripen to a yellow or orange color and then stop. And you should pick them off before they get fully red. Which in our case our early girls are at that stage. They're a yellowish orange kind of color, they're not fully red but we're going to go ahead and harvest them.

Once your tomatoes have started ripening you should check your plants everyday and start picking those that are ready.

Overly rip tomatoes will get knocked off the plant or they'll break off, fall to the ground, start to rot, bugs will start crawling in, then you got a whole mess of problems on your hands.

You can easily lose a big big portion of your harvest or fruit if you don't monitor them and go out there and pick them as they're ready.

So now the time has come, it's time to pick some of our big beautiful tomatoes off our plants.

As far as picking them, we're just going to simply grab it firmly and start twisting it until it pops off the plant like so!

You know for someone who really doesn't know what they're doing, I would say this is a pretty dang good haul! Success!

Go ahead, pick one up. Pick one up and eat it!

James: You know nothing says being an American like uh growing your own food! Mmmm. That's delicious.

Well what do you think?

James: I mean...that's a pretty good tomato right there. And I hate tomatoes.

I don't really know what else to say.

This has gotten awkward real quick!

So there we go. That's most certainly not the end. We still got a lot of tomatoes on there that haven't ripened yet, so we're patiently awaiting for their turn to be picked and consumed.

Hope that answered some questions on how to harvest and how to pick tomatoes in your garden. If you have any other further questions, leave them in the comments section below, email our customer service staff, or pick up the phone and give them a call.

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And as always, thanks for watching!