So the best time to harvest isn't a guessing game
The weather has a decisive influence on the timing of the tomato harvest. The sunnier and warmer the summer, the faster the growth progresses. At the same time, the cultivated tomato variety and the beginning of cultivation play a role in this sensitive constellation. You can usually look out for the first ripe tomatoes from July. How to recognize when it is ready for harvest:
- red tomatoes are completely colored, without any green spots
- yellow, green, orange or dark fruits give a little under pressure
- the predetermined breaking point on the fruit stalk kinks without applying excessive force
- Place tomatoes correctly - this is how it works in beds and pots
- Tie up tomatoes correctly - this is how you outsmart gravity
- Breaking out tomatoes properly - the trick with the kink
As long as a tomato is still completely or partially green, it should not be harvested. In this state, the content of poisonous solanine is at a harmful level. Green tomato varieties are an exception. In this case, the kink test provides information about the state of ripeness and a slight pressure of the thumb on the skin.
Why time of day and sequence determine the quality of the harvest
If you prefer to enjoy your home-grown tomatoes fresh from the bush, the time of day has a noticeable effect on the aroma. If you pick the fruit under the first rays of sunshine in the morning, it will taste crisp, fresh and mild. If you harvest tomatoes in the late afternoon hours, you will experience a warm, highly aromatic treat. It is best to try both variants once.
Experienced hobby gardeners first harvest the tomatoes that are directly on the trunk. These specimens are always particularly mature. As if the fruits wanted to postpone their fate a little longer, they often hide behind the leaves. But your trained eyes will certainly not be fooled by this. Beefsteak tomatoes have bad cards in this hide-and-seek game, unlike cocktail tomatoes.
Harvest tomatoes with a stem for longer shelf life
You can extend the shelf life of home-grown tomatoes with a simple trick. Simply leave a piece of the stem on the fruit when harvesting. At the latest before consumption, this part of the plant should be removed because there is a very high concentration of poisonous solanine here.
Tips & Tricks
If the tomatoes just don't want to ripen, expert gardeners can help a little. A fully ripe banana works wonders when it is hung in the middle of the plants. The fruit emits ethylene gas, which accelerates the ripening process. Ripe apples achieve the same effect.