Cherry tomatoes are ready for harvest when they are full-sized and deeply colored. This can be anywhere from 45 to 65 days after planting, depending on the variety of cherry tomatoes you have grown. To check if your tomatoes are ripe, gently squeeze them between your thumb and forefinger, if they give slightly but remain firm, they are ripe and ready to harvest.
Some cherry tomatoes also have a sweet aroma when they are ready to pick. To know the harvesting days, just twist them off the vine when their color deepens. However, there’s an abundance of research-based information available specifically for cherry tomatoes. Let’s dive deeper into the details.
Cherry Tomatoes: Discover the Process Behind Harvesting and How They Are Formed?
As an Agriculturist, I understand the intricate process that a tomato plant goes through to reach its mature stage; from the flower, formation to fruit production and finally ready for harvest.
It takes 45 to 65 days for cherry tomatoes to be ready for picking, but the exact timeline may vary with your variety of tomatoes.
Fertilization + Fruit Sets (Auxin, Gibberellins, Cytokinin) > Fruit Growth. Cell Division. Cell Expansion (Auxins, Gibberellins)> Fruit Ripening (Ethylene) [Source]
When a tomato starts growing on the branches it is induced by a hormone called Ethylene and Auxin. Both hormones directly trigger and regulate the metabolic pathways and the formation of individual cells that later convert themselves into a cluster of ripening tomato fruits.
When a tomato starts ripening, it first turns light yellow or green and then changes its color into red, orange, or purple depending on the variety.
The size and shape of the cherry tomatoes are also affected by the variety of tomatoes. The color changes indicate that the tomato has reached its peak maturity stage and is ready for harvest.
|Red Colored Tomato
|Lycopene (Carotenoid ) A Medium-sized tomato contains about 3.2 milligrams of lycopene)
|Rich Antioxidant .sun protection, heart health, risk of certain cancer.
|Yellow/ Orange Colored Tomato:
|Gives Beta-carotene, Antioxidants
|Blue, Purple Colored Tomato:
|Flavonoid (Mostly + Yellow )
|Helps with Chronic diseases, Cardiovascular disease (CVD), and neurodegenerative disorders.
Finally, when you cut or twist a cherry tomato off the vine, it should smell sweet and have a slight give to it when gently squeezed between your thumb and forefinger.
If there’s no sweet smell, it is still immature and needs some more time to ripen.
When To Harvest/Pick Cherry Tomato?
As I mentioned the cherry tomato takes around 2 months to be ready for harvest, however, it may vary according to the variety, potting media, seasons, and environments. Because photoperiodism and temperature have a great impact on tomato ripening and growth.
If you’re searching for the most popular cherry tomato variety to cultivate, then look no further. This plant gives an abundance of ripe tomatoes in a surprisingly timely manner.
Here is the data below-
|Required Days For Ripening
|Average Weight Per Tomato
|50 to 55 days
|Tiny Tim (Heirloom)
|55 to 60 days
Criteria Before Harvesting/ Picking Cherry Tomato?
Every fruit has the indices characteristics of ripening and maturity stages. The same goes for a cherry tomato, the criteria before harvesting them are simple:
Look For Color Changes:
When looking for color changes in cherry tomatoes, it is important to pay attention to each individual tomato as they may vary slightly in color due to variety and environment.
Generally, it starts with light yellow or green and then changes its color to red, orange, or purple. Seasonal gardeners can use this as a guideline to determine when the fruits are ready to be picked.
The firmness of a cherry tomato can also indicate its ripeness and maturity. A ripe cherry tomato should have a slight give when gently squeezed between the thumb and forefinger. If it has no give, then it needs some more time to mature.
Once you observe a color change but don’t feel the desired softness yet, then it’s time to pick this cherry tomato for ripening and storing. Additionally, if you wish to gauge its readiness further, give it a sniff, it should have an unmistakable fruity aroma.
The fragrance of a ripe cherry tomato can be used as an indicator to determine its readiness for consumption. Generally, ripe tomatoes have a sweet and fragrant aroma when cut or twisted off the vine. If there’s no sweet smell, it is still immature and needs some more time to ripen.
But don’t depend on only smelling because in some cases, a ripe cherry tomato can have an odorless fruity aroma that’s difficult to identify. So you must use your other senses such as color and firmness to determine the correct harvesting time.
Generally, Skin cracks in the tomato are caused due to uneven watering, excessive heat, or an extreme temperature drop. The ripe cherry tomatoes should not have any skin cracks as these can lead to decay and spoilage. But when it overripens with these factors then a cherry tomato may show cracking on its skin.
It is recommended to pick the tomatoes for ripening when you observe any of these signs, as further delay may cause them to rot or attract pests.
When you have a truss of cherry tomato plants to harvest then you can simply test by a taste sample. Pick one tomato and taste it for sweetness, if it tastes sweet then it’s time to pick more from the same trusses. But tasting is not recommended in all cases as some tomatoes may have a pale taste due to cooler climate or late sowing.
So, follow the rest of the criteria above before harvesting cherry tomatoes to get high-quality fruits.
Tips To Pick Cherry Tomatoes?
Picking cherry tomatoes is a delicate process, as the fruits are fragile and easily damaged. So here are the steps and processes you can follow:
- Use a pair of gardening scissors to gently twist off the fruit from its stem or cut them carefully with a sharp knife.
- Be careful not to pull on them forcefully as it can cause damage to the other tomatoes in that truss.
- A well-ripened tomato will easily come off the stem with a slight twist.
- Let them fall into your cupped hands to avoid any damage.
- Gently place the picked tomatoes in a shallow basket or container as stacking them one on top of the other can cause damage to their delicate skin.
How Much Time Does it Take for Cherry Tomatoes to Develop Into Fully Ripened Fruit?
Once the tomato is full-sized and has achieved its desired color, it takes about 10 to 15 days for it to fully mature and develop into a ripe fruit. The time may vary depending on the variety of cherry tomatoes and environmental conditions like temperature and humidity.
But overall it will take almost 25-35 days to develop to reach the fully ripened stage of cherry tomatoes. After that, they will gradually become less sweet and softer while still retaining their shape.
Some varieties are short-lived and can reach maturity in as little as 45 days, so 18gm of cherry tomatoes is a good estimate. On the other hand, some varieties take longer to mature up to 70-80 days or more. So keep an eye on their growth progress regularly and choose the short variety if you want to enjoy the fruits as soon as possible.
Can I Collect Cherry Tomato Daily?
Interesting question though, Yes, you can collect cherry tomatoes daily. But you must take consider that all the plants will start ripening on the same date (It may fluctuate 4/5 days). So if you took the tomato on a daily basis then on the day of the 4th or 5th you have to harvest a large quantity of the tomatoes at a time.
To, solve the problem you can take a step, which is
- Gently twist off the ripe cherry tomatoes when harvesting.
- Paper wrapping (inhibits the ethylene action )
- Alternate Planting (like planting tomatoes for 5/7 days intervals)
- Lowering the temperature and Humidity
These processes may help you to collect the fruits daily without getting overwhelmed with an excess amount of tomatoes. But, any method you use will result in fewer tomatoes as compared to a single collection.
Therefore, it’s better to follow the traditional method of harvesting tomatoes in batches and allowing each batch to ripen fully before gathering them into your basket. This way, once you start picking the tomatoes, you can get a good supply with minimal effort for over a week.
What If I Can’t Pick Cherry Tomatoes In-Time?
One of the common mistakes that gardeners make when harvesting cherry tomatoes is to leave them on the vine too long. It can cause the fruits to overripen or rot, resulting in a poor-quality harvest.
To avoid this, you should pick your cherry tomatoes as soon as they are ripe before they start to split or crack open. If some of the fruits have started to crack, you can still harvest them, but be sure to consume or process them immediately.
If you are unable to pick the cherry tomatoes in time due to any reason then it’s better to cut off all the trusses and hang them upside down for a few days or weeks until they ripen completely. This will help in preserving the flavor and texture of the fruits as they will rip slowly.
Moreover, you can also use this method to store cherry tomatoes for a longer period by wrapping them in paper or a cloth bag and hanging them in a cool dry place. This way, you can enjoy the fruits even after their peak season is over.
How Do You Increase The Lifespan of Cherry Tomato In Plants?
To ensure your plants reach their greatest potential and have a long, healthy life, give them plenty of sunshine and water while also providing nutrient-rich soil. Additionally, pruning off dead or diseased branches will help keep the plant healthy overall.
To guarantee your cherry tomatoes are not plagued by infection, fertilization and watering must be done properly alongside keeping a bug-free area.
Removing any infected or overripe fruits from the plant can help extend its lifespan. This practice should be done regularly to prevent the spread of disease and keep your plants healthy.
Finally propagating your plant to create new plants can also help extend the lifespan of your cherry tomatoes. This can be done by taking cuttings from existing plants and planting them in a new container or bed.
Cherry tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables in home gardens and they require less time to produce harvest compared to other tomato varieties. But it also takes time for the cherry tomatoes to reach their full ripeness. Until the tomatoes are fully ripe, the gardener should take good care and protect them from diseases or over-ripeness.
I am a graduate of Bangladesh Agricultural University, where I delved into various agricultural disciplines, equipping me with a profound understanding of agriculture. Beyond academics, I have hands-on experience in gardening and crop cultivation. My passion is to embrace sustainable farming and horticulture. With a BSc in Agriculture, I am dedicated to promoting environmentally conscious and efficient agrarian practices.
Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Agriculture (Hons.)
Master of Science. (Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security ) (MS)
Bangladesh Agricultural University