As August approaches, gardeners get antsy to taste "real" tomatoes. Everyone knows homegrown tomatoes offer unmatched flavor.
I've heard from more than one person this season, "when are my tomatoes going to turn red?"
"They'll be ready when they're ready," I reply. It's not what anyone wants to hear, but it's the truth.
I've been picking for over a month and here's how; Some varieties mature earlier than others. Plant a big 'Early Girl' in May and you'll be harvesting in June or July. Most cherry tomatoes produce quickly too. Many beefsteak varieties wont' be ready until the end of the season.
It's important to grow many different types of tomatoes and check their plant tag to see how long they take to ripen.
Sunshine isn't what makes tomatoes ripen, it's a combination of genetics and weather.
One trick I use at the end of the season is to cut the tops of the plants off. It forces the fruit to ripen, but I won't do that until September.
Each season teaches us something about the garden. Take notes of when you're harvesting, and when you want to have tomatoes. This will help you plan for next year.
I want the first garden tomato of the year in June and usually get them. You can do the same by starting with the right plant at the right time.
Here's a story I did about growing the tomatoes which are genetically programed to put on the first tomatoes. The challenge was to find a quick fruiting tomato which tasted wonderful. There were tomatoes that produced early, but tasted like cardboard.
Enjoy the fruits of your labor when those tomatoes are ready, like most of us, you'll have too many to eat fresh and can turn them into a wonderful array of culinary treats.