One of the great pleasures of vegetable gardening is harvesting and eating vine-ripened tomatoes. Tomatoes are fully ripe when in full color and slightly soft. Tomatoes may be harvested when under-ripe and allowed to ripen, and many varieties will ripen fully if harvested green, but generally will not have the same full flavor or sweetness as vine-ripened tomatoes. You may need to harvest tomatoes early and allow them to ripen indoors to avoid losing them to insect and vertebrate pests.
It can be more common for heirloom tomatoes to develop splits that heal over with scar tissue. Sometimes it can appear as though the skin were zipped up with a zipper! Though not necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing, these tomatoes with scarring are perfectly edible.
When ripe, some varieties snap easily off the vine at a joint on the stem usually a half-inch to an inch-and-a-half above the fruit, with a motion against the joint (away from the narrowest angle of the joint). GardenZeus recommends harvesting with garden scissors or a garden knife to avoid damaging tomato fruits when pulled off stems.
It is easy to damage the relatively thin skin of ripe heirloom tomatoes: take care not to stack or squash your heirloom tomatoes while harvesting and you can enjoy attractive as well as flavorful tomatoes.
To view complete, customized information for growing tomato in your area, go to GardenZeus and enter your zip code, then go to tomato.
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