HOME > Chowhound > Gardening >


Tomatoes - Can you wait?!

The end of last year's tomatoes were used in January and it's been a long wait until Spring. My tomatoes went in the ground yesterday here in Boston. And the countdown begins . . .

I can hardly wait!

When the first tomato appears, can you wait until it fully matures or lose self control and pick it green?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It stays on the vine! I'm quite impatient, but when it comes to tomatoes, unless you have a rat problem... those puppies stay on the vine until they practically jump off!

    1 Reply
    1. re: LauraGrace

      The rats prefer the compost pile thankfully. Living in the city we aren't troubled by the larger rats (deer) that devistate the gardens in the burbs.

    2. I let them ripen on the vine. I'm so jealous. I can't even THINK about putting out my tomatoes until the end of May.

      1. We planted our tomatoes March 20th. Some are about the size of a golf ball. We have 7 varieties in large pots on our second floor deck - they're already staked and growing like crazy. We always pick a few green ones to fry and have with champagne to celebrate tomato season, love fried green tomatoes. DH (Mr. Green Thumb) says tomatoes should be ready in about 3 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        1. Our RIPE tomato tradition is a kitchen sink sandwich - white bread, loads of mayo, s&p, sliced tomato dripping all over the place - I CAN'T WAIT!!

          1 Reply
          1. re: bayoucook

            wow..... that sounds like my ideal sandwich.... add some vidalia slices and you've got heaven....

          2. I am making my first attempt at growing garden tomatoes - earlygirl's to be exact. They've been planted for about 3 weeks now and we will need to stake them soon. I'm so excited. I have six plants and I am hoping I do everything correctly and get some delicious tomatoes. I've never been very good at caring for plants, so cross your fingers. My herb garden is easy. But this is different.

            We built a raised bed container garden (we have red clay here in NC). I've planted the tomatoes, some peppers, radishes, carrots and green onions. Anyone have any tips for caring for the tomatoes. I'd love some help! I heard if I string a string over the tops of the plants and tie a string to the plants and then to the overhead string it is a good way to keep them up (this suggestion from a tomato farmer's daughter). Anyone ever try this?

            8 Replies
            1. re: lynnlato

              I don't see why that wouldn't work. We simply stake ours and keep tying them to the stake as they grow.

              1. re: bayoucook

                I am so jealous of all of you. my tomatoes cannot go in the ground until at least after the long weekend. we won't be getting any tomatoes for a couple months. Man, do I ever need to move south....

                my first tomato is always with the fresh picked basil and a little olive oil.

                1. re: cleopatra999

                  Yes, living in the deep South has that advantage, but if it helps remember:
                  hurricanes, a pesty bug for every season, an almost un-endurable July and August, and almost no signs of changing seasons.

                  1. re: bayoucook

                    okay maybe not quite that far south ;)

                    we just deal with mosquitos in summer and heavy snow, not so bad I guess. There is truly no perfect place to live.

                    1. re: cleopatra999

                      Nope. I've always wanted to be in a snowstorm, tightly bundled up..(you know the story, raging fire, candles). We have almost moved to another country twice (little Mexican town, France), but always opted to stay here, at home. It works for us, bad stuff and all. There's so so so much good stuff than bad stuff!

                    2. re: bayoucook

                      You nailed it BC. Here in NC we have all of those annoyances, except we're lucky to have a change of seasons. We get one snowfall a winter. For that I am grateful. But what I wouldn't do to rid the South of fire ants - ugh. Those things are vicious.

                      1. re: lynnlato

                        lynnlato - if only! And also gnats, lovebugs, green flies, mosquitos.....

                  2. re: bayoucook

                    My dad (who started gardening because he loved my mother, and learned to love tomatoes LATER) made cages out of pig-wire (like chicken wire, but thicker gauge and with larger, rectangular holes) about fifteen years ago and has been using them ever since. They're about five feet tall, about a foot in diameter. I don't know what it is about those cages, but in my dad's garden, a tomato plant is considered an underachiever if it doesn't go way over the top of the cage! Imagine seven-foot-tall tomato plants! In Colorado!


                2. I too can hardly wait for my tomatoes! Mine went in the ground a couple weeks ago and are starting to bloom though no fruit yet. I'm HOPING to have enough will power to wait until they are perfectly ripe before picking....

                  1. This is interesting. A local nursery owner here in Cleveland says there is quite a lot of evidence that waiting to put tomatoes in the ground once temps. are guaranteed to be warm and the soil is quite warm (last weekend in May/first of June here), this will actually produce tomatoes earlier and a give higher yield overall than putting tomatoes in now.

                    I'm curious as to what your experience has been. Do you always plant them outside this early? Do you cover them? When do you expect to get your first tomato and what kind are you planting?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gourmanda

                      My garden is in the middle of the city and sourrounded by brownstones. It gets full sun all day and stays warmer at night given the protection and warmth of the bricks. The soil was warm and the forecast is for 60-70's.

                      I did plant earlier this year by about 2 weeks. We eat tomatoes on the 4th. In the garden are juliets, rudgers, sweet 100s, early girls, roma, san marzano, beefsteak, and a couple of others.

                      I am certainly no expert - the soil get prepared (manure, compost), the plants go in, and I water then wait. I have enough tomatoes to last until January-February. This is my fourth year - community gardens have long waiting lists.

                    2. We planted early girls & grape tomatoes in two pots. I have a few grapes that I'll be able to pick today! Yay! My favorite is a creole-grape tomato from Liuzza Farms in Tickfaw, LA but I have not seen then in the store yet.

                      1. Going to pick our first cherry tomatoes just now! Some of the other tomatoes are really getting big - maybe 3-4 inches in diameter. Getting close, ya'll!