How to know when to harvest your tomatoes - gardenstead Skip to content
tomatoes growing on vine

How to know when to harvest your tomatoes

Tomatoes are a vegetable gardening classic. Everyone loves to grow tomatoes, they are both delicious and rewarding to grow. For the amount of work you put into your tomato crops you get a high return value. Tomatoes are great for growing if you have limited space in your garden but still want to see lots of tasty fruits.

It is just about time that your tomatoes will start to be ready for harvesting. We have got you covered with some of the best tips and tricks to harvesting tomatoes.

tomatoes growing on vine

How do you know when a tomato
is ready to be picked?


You may think that the best time to harvest your tomatoes is when they become the beautiful red color that we normally see when we buy tomatoes from the grocery store. However, waiting till the tomatoes become a nice red might be a little too late to harvest your tomatoes. It is also difficult to tell when the tomatoes are ripe simply by the color.

The best and easiest way to know when your tomatoes are ready to be harvested is when you see your tomatoes become one solid color, if you see that your tomatoes are a mix of green and red, they aren’t ready. As well your tomatoes should look nice and shiny, instead of a matte color.

You can harvest your tomatoes when they are a dark green, but make sure that you let them ripen indoors. Don’t worry tomatoes are still able to continue ripening even after they are harvested. Harvesting really red tomatoes means that they may become bruised more easily and may go bad very quickly. Additionally, very ripe tomatoes also attract lots of pests and animals, so you may not be the only one eating your tomato plants this summer. Harvesting your tomatoes when they are green helps you avoid these issues.

unripe green tomatoes

Some other ways to tell when your tomatoes are ready is when, they are slightly tender when you touch them. Be very careful, because tomatoes can bruise easily if you touch them too hard. As well, when you try to pluck them off the vine, you shouldn’t have to pull too hard. If you find yourself pulling at the tomatoes to come off, they aren’t ready to be harvested.


Smelling your tomatoes is another easy way to tell when they are ripe. A ripe tomato will give off a distinct smell, whereas an unripe tomato will smell like nothing at all. When you smell your tomatoes make sure you’re smelling the fruit and not the leaves, because the leaves also have a strong aroma.


The best part of growing vegetables is being able to eat them. So why not taste your tomatoes to see if they are ready. If you decide to taste one and you decide the rest should ripen a bit longer, it is no problem. Taste testing is one of the best ways to tell when they are all ready to be picked!

If your tomatoes are ready to be harvested, send us a photo to enter our tomato harvest contest!
ripe tomatoes
yellow petaled flower by elias sorey unsplash

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