Kansas City Tomato Times
Edition # 6
Well, we’re finally turning from green to red and all of the other colors of the rainbows in our KC gardens! I trust that my E-vites went out ok for the August 22nd Tomato Tasting Event, but if you didn’t get one, feel free to click the link and RSVP.
One big question a lot of gardeners have this time of year is “When do I pick X?”
When it comes to tomatoes…pick them AS SOON AS THEY START TO BLUSH! When the tomato changes from green to any shade of red or purple or yellow, the plant is done with it. The plant actually makes a seal at the stem so no more nutrients go into the fruit. This fruit is now “vine ripened”. Don’t wait another second…pick it! Take it in the house and put in a pretty bowl on your table for everyone to admire. DO NOT PUT IT IN THE REFRIGERATOR! Cold ruins the flavor! Keep it out of direct sun and heat and in a few days the fruit will change completely to it’s ripened stage. Grab a knife and the salt shaker and have at it as you like! If you leave the fruits on the vine after they change color, you might as well put out a signal flare to all the squirrels and other critters in your yard to come and have a snack. Pick at first blush and you’ll have way more tomatoes than the critters.
When it comes to peppers or eggplant…pick them whenever you want. Leaving them on the vine will allow the walls of peppers to get thicker and they will develop more sugars and in turn a more sweet fruit. They may also change to other colors and develop different flavors as the age on the vine. If you pick them sooner, the plants will respond by producing more flowers and in turn more fruit. You may choose to do a little of both…leave a pepper plant alone and allow the fruit to develop to full maturity. The rest of your plants, pick as many of the peppers off as you can and the plant will get more and more vigorous with production. As for eggplant…don’t let them get too big or they may get tough and the seeds may become too big.
Here’s a picture of my harvest for the week…I hope you like the colors of my garden!