The Best Time To Harvest Your Ripened Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are among the easiest and most rewarding plants to grow in the home garden. But, these miniature veggies are worth more when you harvest them at the right time. In general, tomato plants start to produce ripe fruit in the summer, beginning in July. The summer heat encourages the tomatoes to ripen until September brings the temperatures back down, and the plant stops producing.

So, how do you know when a cherry tomato is ripe? The obvious answer is: When it turns red. But we all know it's much more complicated than that. You shouldn't pick the tomato right as the orangish-red color begins to show. And, you should try your best not to leave red tomatoes on their stem too long to suffer cracks or damage from insects and wildlife. So, where is the sweet spot? We'll tell you. Once almost all of the green has vanished from the tomato's skin, it's ready to go.

What tells us when cherry tomatoes are ready for picking?

In truth, the best way to find out when your tomatoes will be fit to harvest is to read the seed packet or container that they came in. Most varieties of tomatoes grown from seed may be picked 75 days, or nearly 11 weeks, after planting. Though, if you tossed these instructions out after planting, we are right there with you. Thankfully, color isn't the only thing that dictates when your cherry tomatoes are set to be harvested. If you carefully use your fingers to rotate the tomato and it falls from the vine, it's ripe.

On occasion, we get too excited at the sight of our cherry tomatoes finally ripening and pick a few off the plant too soon. If this happens to you, the premature fruits will likely become more ripe when you leave them out on the counter for a couple of days. Though, fully green tomatoes are usually a lost cause. Some people have had luck placing their under-ripe cherry tomatoes in an open bag which encourages a red color as it traps the ethylene gas, a ripening hormone.

How to grow lots of gorgeous cherry tomatoes

Taking good care of your tomato plant until harvest time is essential to be rewarded with a large yield of round, red, and juicy cherry tomatoes. There are some varieties, such as Super Sweet 100, that are known for providing gardeners with numerous small fruits on their many long vines, which can help your harvest. However, the success in growing your tomato plant is largely dependent on where it's planted, the weather conditions it endures, and how well you maintain it. The highest-yielding cherry tomato plants will be planted in rich soil and picked, pruned, and fertilized regularly

Once your cherry tomatoes begin ripening, you'll likely need to pick them each day as they redden. Missing just a couple of days of harvesting can lead to one of the most common issues we see with tomatoes: cracking and splitting — this happens when your plants receive too much water when they are fruiting. The excess water makes the produce swell, which causes the skin to stretch and crack. A firm schedule and an even application of water on your tomato plants is the best way to avoid a nasty spit on your ripened fruits.