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When to Harvest Tomatoes? The best guide

When to harvest tomatoes

Tomato growing is one of the best gardening activities you could do. There are so many ways to enjoy this juicy and flavorful fruit. Dried, roasted, stewed, canned, or made into a sauce-there are so many ways to prepare tomatoes.

The tomato is one of the most famous fruits and is being cultivated all over the world, oh did I say it’s a fruit? Because botanically speaking, the tomato is a fruit, but it is generally eaten and prepared like a vegetable.  I too was shocked, when I first heard of this fact, but hey, the more you know, the better. This fruit is one of the most used ingredients out there and understandably so. Recognizing that this fruit can be cooked in varied ways and also alter the taste of a dish for the better as well.

If that still does not encourage you to plant some tomatoes in your backyard, I will encourage you more by discussing its health benefits. Did you know that a single tomato can provide you 40% of the minimum daily recommended vitamin C intake? What’s more, it also will boost your digestive system’s health, have a healthier heart, and will provide you some vitamin K and Vitamin A, With all these benefits in mind, what’s not to love about this plant?

If you are planning to grow your own produce, you need to know the right growing season and conditions, as well as how and when to harvest tomatoes. Warmth is crucial to tomatoes ’ growth and they won’t tolerate frost. They are long-growing plants but are easy to grow. Because they take time to mature, tomatoes are transplanted rather than direct-seeded to kick-start the process. There are also lots of varieties to choose from. This may sound complex, but it actually isn’t. By following our guide, you will come to know and easily understand that knowing when to harvest your tomatoes is easy.

Tomato Harvest Time

It can be exciting to start planting your tomato knowing that you won’t have to go to the supermarket for some tomatoes. However, before you start, you may want to pick which tomato variety is perfect for you. Different varieties have different harvest times and some may have different indications as to if they are ripe or not. Some factors need to be considered to pick out which variety is perfect for the conditions of the place you live in and the preferences of your taste. To do this, simply check what climate conditions you have, such as if you have a hot climate, cold climate, or a humid climate. Adjust accordingly by picking which variety is best suited in those conditions.

When growing tomatoes, the site should be getting full sun. At least 6 hours of daily sunlight is an important requirement. Many types of soil work for tomatoes but loose, well-drained, slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.2 to 6.8 is best. You should amend the soil with compost before planting. If you’re growing early season tomatoes, they will take 50 to 60 days to grow. Whereas, mid-season tomatoes require 60 to 80 days. Late season tomatoes may take even more than 80 days.

If you are not confident with the soil you have is free of pollutants, then you may want to consider other options then. A tomato plant does not need much place to grow, so you can grow some of your tomatoes in a pot or create some raised beds. The advantage of having a raised bed is that you can be sure that the water will not stand still and cause some rot in your roots; While on the other hand, the advantage the pots bring is that they are portable, but you have to water them much more frequently as they get dry much quicker.

At the end of their growing season comes tomato harvest time. How would you know when to harvest tomatoes? It’s quite simple. Just watch the bottom of the tomato as this is where it starts to ripen. To test the firmness, squeeze the fruit lightly. When you spot a red hue on the skin, harvest time is close. 

If by any chance, you are planning to send some tomatoes to a friend or selling them at your local grocery, you may want to harvest the fruit much earlier than usual. Why you may ask, it is because you will need to consider the time delay. Harvest your tomatoes early before they get to the ripening stage so that, when they are being transported, they get ripen as they go. Remember that tomatoes are fruits and not vegetables, that’s why you can do this trick.

At a certain point called the ‘breaking stage’, the tomato starts turning from green to slightly pink. After this stage, the fruit stops taking more nutrients from the plant. This simply means that now if you harvest it, the fruit will continue to ripen anyway. It is actually better to pick the tomato now, as a ripening one on the vine is more prone to getting attacked by pests. Harvesting also helps redirect more energy to other tomatoes that need to grow.

Best Time of the Day to Pick Tomatoes

If you’re serious about harvesting tomatoes in the ideal most way, you might be wondering what the best time of the day to pick tomatoes is. 

Rise and shine! Mornings are the most ideal time to pick your tomatoes. To be more specific- earlier than 9 am, before the dew evaporates. In the night time, fruits convert starch into sugar and they also restore essential moisture. The idea is to pick the tomatoes before the suns’ heat dries them up-so they’re at the peak level of juiciness and sweetness.

If you don’t manage to pick them this early. You still have to keep in mind that you should harvest at a time when the sun is not intense. The other option is to wait till the evening and pick the tomatoes after 5 pm.

For the best taste and texture, you need to make sure you follow these timings for a perfect harvest.

When to Pick Roma Tomatoes

Do you fancy fresh tomato sauce? If you do, you need to grow Roma tomatoes because that’s the right variety for the most delicious sauce bursting with flavor. Roma tomatoes typically have thicker skin, fewer seeds, and grainy flesh that is dense. However, the Roma variety ripens at one point-rather than continuously. So you must know also when to pick Roma tomatoes.

The growing conditions and procedure for this variety are the same as regular tomatoes. Due to the thicker fruit wall, you might be concerned about how to know that your Roma tomatoes are ripe.

There is one key indicator here and that is the color. You will know it is time to pick Roma tomatoes when you see red all over, from top to bottom of the fruit. It’s actually that basic!

When to Pick Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are another popular variety any tomato lover would love to grow. These bite-sized, succulent, tomatoes are the perfect addition to salads and pasta. These are as easy to grow, but they’re sweeter and have thinner skin. They are also rich in iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C. This variety of tomatoes keep growing, ripening, and bearing fruit until frost kills it.

It best to grow cherry tomatoes in a pot or container. You can expect them to fruit in less than 60 days after transplanting. ‘Terrenzo’, ‘Lizzano’ and ‘Tumbling Tom’ are all different varieties appropriate for growing in a pot, and tasty as ever.

Most of the varieties of cherry tomatoes start flowering in a month. This will be followed by small green fruits. In the next few weeks, you can harvest your full-sized cherry tomatoes. When a cherry tomato is ripe, it will easily come off the stem. The plant usually continues to ripen until frost.


Tomatoes are worth growing in your garden because of their versatility and uses. They also have so many varieties you could choose from. And the best part is they’re all quite tasty. They are the perfect addition to pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and burgers. And every variety has its own place in different recipes. You can enjoy your sweet and delicious cherry tomatoes with garlic, pasta, toast, eggs, chicken, steaks, and more. Plus with the guide I shared with you just now,  you can do this very easily!

Now that you have an idea of tomatoes growing requirements as well as how and when to harvest tomatoes- you can start right away with ease!Do you have any more thoughts or tips about this topic? Or any questions perhaps comes to mind? Feel free to comment on those below! We also offer other guides as well on the topic of gardening such as When to Harvest Figs? and When to Harvest Artichokes? Feel free to check on these topics anytime.

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