Starting your own garden can be a rewarding process, but it is important to know when to harvest each plant. One of the most popular plants to grow in your garden is tomatoes, which can be used in a variety of recipes. When you are growing tomatoes, it is important that you know when to pick them so that you can get the most out of your plant. Here is a great guide that can help you determine the appropriate time to pick your tomatoes from the plant.
1. The time in which you pick your tomatoes is really a mater of personal choice and preference. If you are only going to need a couple tomatoes a day, then it is best to just pick them from the plant as you need them. You want to leave the rest of the tomatoes on the plant so that they can mature properly if you only need a couple tomatoes. The tomatoes should not be picked to ripen in your house; you should let them ripen on the plant.
2. You do not want to pick a lot of tomatoes at once, unless you plan on freezing them or making something like tomato sauce from scratch. The reason you only want to pick off what you need is because a tomato will not last long after it is pulled from the plant. Even if you put the tomato in the refrigerator, you will probably only get five days to eat it before it gets soft and too ripe.
3. Allowing the tomato to ripen on the plant might also change the color of the tomato, but this is not alarming. If you leave the tomato on the plant you might see that it looks more orange, which is normal in warmer weather conditions. If you live in a hotter location, your tomatoes might not get red at all, but instead will be orange no matter what. Do not worry about the orange color of the tomato, it will still taste the same as a red tomato and be just as useful in the kitchen.
4. You also want to pick the tomato from the plant when it is firm but not too firm. You want to be able to press your thumb on it and not have your thumb puncture the tomato, but there should be some give in the tomato. A hard tomato is an indication that it is not ready to be picked yet so you should leave it on the plant for a few more days. Make sure that you are also picking them before they are too ripe, because they will attract birds and other insects at that stage. A tomato that is too ripe will also be harder to cut and dice the proper way which will create nothing but a huge mess in your kitchen.
5. You also want to make sure that you are picking your tomatoes before the first sign of cold weather. If the summer has almost ended and you are still left with green tomatoes on the plant, you should still pick them before the weather changes. If you just leave the tomatoes on the plant and then the cold weather comes, you are probably going to ruin the tomatoes all together. At least by picking them you are giving them a chance to ripen in your home as opposed to being exposed by the cold weather. If you have picked the green tomatoes, you should place them all in a cardboard box next to each other. Placing the green tomatoes in the box will help the ripening process occur at a faster rate. You do not want to place them on top of each other and you should also add a couple of ripe apples in the box as well. Once the tomatoes are in the box, close the lid and then leave it alone for a few days until you see that they are ripe. You might be wondering why you would add some ripe apples to the box of unripe tomatoes. A gas it emitted as the apples ripen, which will speed the ripening process of the tomatoes.
Planting tomatoes is a very easy task since they require little water besides what occurs naturally. Tomatoes are usually started from a seed or a small plant, which should be planted just as the spring gets underway. You want to plant the tomato plants early so that they have plenty of time to grow and produce tomatoes the first season. You might not see many tomatoes the first season, but within a couple of years the plants will be covered. If you follow these easy tips for picking your tomatoes, you will have the summer and winter to enjoy them.