Tomatoes are an incredibly popular (and delicious) plant to garden. They are fairly easy to grow, can come in many varieties, and have many uses in the kitchen.
After you’ve put in all the effort to plant and grow your tomatoes, you may be wondering when the best time to harvest is. Typically it takes 18-22 weeks from seed to harvest, but knowing the perfect time to pick a tomato can be more complex. It’s a terrible feeling when you either get mushy tomatoes from picking too late, or flavorless ones from picking too early.
Luckily, these tips can help guarantee your harvest is as delicious as possible!
You’ll know when to harvest tomatoes by examining three things: color, firmness and maturity.
One of our biggest tips is to just trust your judgement. When you think a tomato is ready to pick, try one! You want the fruit to come off the vine easily (if you need to yank, it’s not ready) be full of color, smell earthy, and taste great.
Vine-ripened tomatoes offer the best flavor, but aren’t always an option if the temperature or sunlight gets too extreme or you can’t check in on them as often. To harvest vine-ripened tomatoes, pick when the tomato is fully covered in its ideal color, it comes off its stem easily, and the skin hasn’t yet cracked. If the skin cracks, it’s more likely to attract pests so keep an eye out!
Indoor ripening: If the temperatures where you’re gardening consistently go over 90°F or below 60°F, it may be best to allow your tomatoes to ripen indoors.
As you have read, look and feel should be able to guide you when picking tomatoes, but it can get a bit tricky and takes some trial and error. Raddish can help take some of the guesswork out by nudging you when it’s time to transplant and harvest!
We hope you now feel prepared and excited to enjoy your abundant tomato harvest! For more tips on planting, growing and harvesting tomatoes, head to the Raddish grow guide.