Picking Tomatoes – When are Tomatoes ready to Pick?

When I first grew tomatoes, I was so happy to see my plants thriving, but I didn’t have any information about picking them. I couldn’t tell when the right time was to pick the tomatoes or how to recognize that time.

Yes, there are signs that indicate when it is the best time to harvest tomatoes and enjoy their juicy flavor. After doing some research, I learned every single sign that indicates when to pick them, whether they are ready, and if something is lacking.

If you are reading this, you might be struggling with the same issue. Don’t worry, I’ve explained the methods for picking tomatoes and all related information to help you. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s start picking tomatoes.

Key takeaways:

  • You need to look for colour, size, and other factors before picking tomatoes.
  • We all know the green colour on fruits indicates that the fruit is still unripe.
  • The green colour starts to fade which means the ripening stage has begun.
  • The ripened tomatoes are usually when they get to the colour pink and then red.
  • The fruit when getting high temperatures like 85 degrees Fahrenheit or above provides a lot of gas under the effect of a plant hormone called ethylene.
  • The timing here is really important, taking off tomatoes from the vine at the right time otherwise might get attacked by birds, squirrels, or other eaters.
  • Many times the internal gas overload and splitting of fruit occur.

When to pick tomatoes? – When are Tomatoes ready to Pick?

Ripening is all about the loosening of the cells with changing levels of two maturing hormones that will cause the release of gas that will soften the tissue and fade the color green to the final red color of tomatoes.

The chlorophyll level decreases which gives them a green colour and takes part in photosynthesis. As it gets low, the fruit starts to age and become soft. 

Tomatoes can be picked when they are green and not completely ripened. The concept behind the advantage of picking green tomatoes is that as the mature green appears the tomatoes still can be ripe after picking them up. Also, the chances of their splitting are reduced. 

Ripening is entitled to changes in taste like sweetness, change in colour, and softening of the fruit. The tomato can be picked partially unripe if there are other tomato plants in your garden.

How do you know when tomatoes are ready to pick? – Picking Tomatoes

Tomatoes have wide varieties like heirloom tomatoes, oxheart tomatoes, Aerogarden Tomatoes, Dwarf Mr. Snow Tomatoes, purple tomatoes, Hybrid Tomatoes, etc and each type has a different maturity time. The time of maturity for tomatoes is from the time of transplanting rather than the seeding. You can consult with the expert or nursery owner regarding the time of maturity of a particular tomato variety. The color of the fruit will give you a basic hint about the ripening of the tomato or does not turn red can be because of water, cold, heat, variety, etc. As the tomato gets mature it will turn red and the color will deepen with time. 

Touch: When you touch the tomato fruit you need to feel whether they are tight and feel firmer than the ripe tomatoes usually feel. The tight body of the fruit will indicate that the fruit is yet to rip. 

Another thing that you should look for is that ripe tomatoes come off from the stalk easily and some might just come into your hand while holding the fruit gently. 

If you don’t know what weather you should pick tomatoes? We recommend you harvest tomatoes before the heavy rainy days which can cause the splitting of tomatoes. Many times tomato plants look thirsty and watering is what they need.

You should pick the tomatoes first and then water them as that might swell the tomatoes which can lead to the cracking of tomatoes, which we don’t want. The cracking of tomatoes calls for many infections of pests, rodents, aphids, birds, squirrels, groundhogs, rabbits, etc to feed on them. 

You should pick the tomatoes if frost is approaching as cold weather brings low temperatures and told you before that will slow the ripening. 

What month are tomatoes ready to pick?

Late summer is the time when the tomatoes get into the breaker stage which is when the green color is getting matured showing the signs of opening with a hint of pink color and reddish yellow dose.

You can pick these tomatoes and still store them in the kitchen to ripen further. The summer is the time they get good heat and ripe well. 

What is the Best time of day to pick tomatoes?

As you know now when to pick tomatoes, the weather and situation of fruit, etc, are in the above section. What time of the day you should pick tomatoes is also vital.

The early morning is considered to be a good time to harvest tomatoes. If not too early, 9 am will be appropriate as the sun is not too hot to dry out the tomatoes.

Can you pick green cherry tomatoes? 

The green tomatoes that are mature and do not look too young can be picked from the plant.

The green tomatoes that are almost big and in the mature stage approaching getting faded away can be picked and stored as well for further ripening and picking them won’t harm the tomato plant at all. 

Wrapping up the Context

In this guide, you come to know how to pick tomatoes from tomato plants, you should use the garden snips to clip off the fruits from the vine. Remove the fruit carefully so that the other fruits and plants don’t get knocked off and get any thrust. Using pruning shears will also be effective in smoothly clipping the tomato off the stalk. Read the whole guide to understand it properly.

Thanks for reading! Happy gardening!


1. Can you pick a tomato too early?

Picking tomatoes early has proven to be a good tact to avoid splitting. You can store them in your kitchen or inside the house at room temperature and let them ripen completely to enjoy the taste. 

2. How long does it take for green tomatoes to turn red?

The green tomatoes, in the beginning, are small in size and they grow further until maturity when the green colour starts to fade away. Usually, when the green tomatoes have attained a good size, they take at least half a month or a month to turn deep red and completely ripen.

3. How do I get my tomatoes to turn red?

The tomatoes turn red when they get warmer conditions and temperatures near 85 degrees Fahrenheit or more. You can take the pot of vines indoors where the temperature is warmer than outside. Other than this, you can also take them to a warm room in a store where they can be kept for ripening. 

4. Can you eat green tomatoes before they turn red?

The ripened tomatoes have some concentration of ethylene, an amount that is not toxic to humans. Green tomatoes are not soft, have green seeds inside, and have more acid than ripened tomatoes. This acidic tomato can affect your gut if your gut is sensitive. If not then surely you can eat and enjoy the green tomatoes. 

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