|Today's tomato harvest|
I am one of those folks who pick at first blush. I have not always been that way. I used to let mine ripen on the vine. Recently, however, I have encountered 3 very good reasons to pick at first blush.
Reason 1: Squirrels. A few years ago the squirrels discovered my garden. They love raiding it and taking a bite or two out of my juicy ripe tomatoes. Seems the have a preference for the biggest beefsteaks! They usually leave the green ones alone and go for a ripe one. If I want more tomatoes that have not been pre-sampled by rodents I have to pick them at first blush. If not, then a lot of them end up looking like the one below!
|Squirrel eaten tomato|
Reason 2: Rain. I grow a lot of heirlooms and we have been getting a fair amount of rain this year. Those two factors can equal cracked tomatoes. I just hate waiting for a gorgeous tomato to ripen and going out finding it has a huge crack in it that shortens its shelf life. Picking when they blush reduces the chances that this happens. Happily, I have no photos of split tomatoes because I have been picking them early enough.
Reason 3: Leaf foot bugs. For the first time we have leaf footed (aka stink bugs) in the garden. One of their favorite foods is tomato. After they suck the juices out of a tomato it will form hard ugly white spots. Like us, they prefer ripe tomatoes. Picking at first blush has reduced the number of disfigured tomatoes that I have been picking.
|Leaf footed bugs having sexy time.|
So, there you have it. The reasons I pick at first blush! When do you pick?