Fresh Off the Vine – Tomato Tips

Whether enjoying a backyard BBQ, drinks on the patio or a quiet meal with a crisp, fresh summer salad, summertime meals are best when enjoyed outdoors. And those meals are made even better when using fruits and vegetables you grew in your very own garden. Backyard veggies are flavorful, fresh and good for you. Plus, they can save you money on pricey veggies at the grocery store.

The most popular of summer veggies? Tomatoes, of course! If you planted them in the late spring, it should be just about time to harvest. Read on for our tips on how to know when to pick.

Perfect Timing

One of the first steps to picking tomatoes off the vine is to keep a close eye on your tomatoes to determine the best time to pick. Tomatoes are typically ready 60-85 days after planting seedlings outdoors. However, timing can change depending on your climate and the variety of tomatoes you’re growing.

Determinate tomatoes will be ready for a large harvest all at once. These varieties typically set and ripen their fruit within about two weeks. Be sure to have your collapsible bucket ready to gather up tomatoes.

1402_collapsible bucket

Indeterminate tomatoes can ripen all summer long, so keep an eye on these varieties throughout the season to ensure peak harvesting times.

Signs of Maturity

Leave your tomatoes on the vine as long as possible. Wait until your tomatoes have completely changed color. If it is red (or yellow) on one side and green on the other, don’t pick it just yet. A good sign tomatoes are ready for picking is an even all-around color. If your tomatoes have started changing color and are starting to crack, bring them inside and place them in a paper bag to finish ripening to prevent pests from getting at them.

You can also do the squeeze test. Gently squeeze your tomatoes, tomatoes ready for harvest will be firm, but not too hard.

Harvest the whole vine by using Centurion’s stainless precision snips to make a clean cut.

196_Curve Blade Precision Snip

Trust your gut. If you think the tomato is ready for harvest, pick it!

For more tips on vegetable gardening, check out our blog.

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