24K Heirloom Tomatoes & Friends


I prune only in the greenhouse while the plants are supported by string to the frame. Outside where my plants are in cages, I really can't. Way too much work and they are inaccessible. The labor factor is just not worth the possible benefit.


There is an art and great satisfaction from picking tomatoes that really doesn't get discussed often. Many pick too early. Many pick too late. Each tomato has its time. It is an art acquired by experience, really. It's a question of appearance and especially feel. Some tomatoes just have to be felt to know when they are ripe. Aunt Ruby's German Green and Black Krim are two examples.

Black Krim has to be picked before it looks ripe, or it is lost. This is an extremely fragile tomato. If you wait too long, it will fall apart on the way to the house. Looking at it is not the best guide. You need to touch it and then you will know. When in doubt, pick it.

Aunt Ruby's won't tell you by sight either. It stays green. Only a blush of red will hint that it is ready. But feeling it will tell you. When it softens all around, time to pick! Over time, you will learn that each tomato has its unique characteristics. Some will stay ok on the plant longer and remain fine. Others really need to be picked the day they are ready. Picking too early or too late will compromise the quality. Daily wanderings through the garden are a must. You can see which fruits might be ready, but to be sure you have to feel them. The great tomatoes are picked at just the right time. And the extra effort makes all the difference!

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