GardenRx: How to Know When to Pick Your Tomatoes / PBS-TV’s Garden Rx starring Loren Nancarrow tells you how to know when your tomatoes are ripe for picking.
Knowing when to pick your tomatoes can make all the difference in terms of flavor and ripeness. Here are some tips to help you determine when your tomatoes are ready for harvest, especially when following the guidelines of PBS-Tv’s GardenRx:
1. Check the color: The color of the tomato is one of the primary indicators of ripeness. Different tomato varieties have different color characteristics, but in general, most ripe tomatoes will have a vibrant and uniform color. For example, red tomatoes should have a deep, rich red hue, while yellow tomatoes should be bright and canary yellow. However, there are some exceptions like green tomatoes, which are typically picked before turning fully ripe.
2. Firmness: Gently squeeze the tomato to assess its firmness. Ripe tomatoes should have a slight give when pressed, but they should not be overly soft or mushy. If they feel too firm, they may need more time to ripen on the vine.
3. Size and Shape: The size and shape of the tomato can also indicate its readiness for picking. Different tomato varieties have their preferred mature size, so refer to the package or seed catalog for specific information. If the tomatoes have reached their expected size and shape, they are likely ready for harvest.
4. Yielding stem: Examine the connection point between the tomato and the stem. If the tomato is fully ripe, it should detach easily from the vine without excessive force. Leaving a small portion of the stem attached to the tomato can help prolong its shelf life.
5. Taste test: If you are unsure about the tomato’s ripeness, you can also conduct a taste test. Pick a tomato that looks promising and sample it. A ripe tomato will have a delicious, sweet, and well-balanced flavor. If the tomato tastes tart or lacks flavor, it may need more time on the vine.
Remember that tomatoes will continue to ripen off the vine but usually at a slower pace. Therefore, it’s ideal to pick them when they are slightly underripe and allow them to ripen fully indoors.
Overall, achieving the perfect tomato harvest requires observation, patience, and a little bit of trial and error. Following these guidelines from PBS-Tv’s GardenRx can help you pick your tomatoes at their prime for a delicious and rewarding gardening experience.