Thursday, July 23, 2009

Don't Let Them See Red

It's used to get the attention of bulls, We use it to draw in hummingbirds. It's designed into the most important signs so we notice them.
RED. Whether two legged, four legged or six legged, red gets attention. That's why this time of year, I take measures to minimize how much of it is visible. My tomatoes are ripening by the droves now. However, I don't allow them to become fully red on the vine.

It's been my experience that the fruits on my vines tend to remain untouched while they are green, peachy, or orange. The day they turn red though, you can expect chunks out of them from squirrels, holes in them from bugs and total disappearance of them from the neighbor's landscapers who spot them and respond to the call of their juicy goodness.

It is said that the best tasting tomato is one that is allowed to become fully ripe on the vine. Thankfully, my palate is not refined enough to notice any difference in the slicers from one that is allowed to ripen on the vine and one that ripens on the safety of the kitchen counter. Cherries are different for me. I do let them get fully ripe on the vine because I notice a difference in those that don't . I am also less sad if I loose one of them to a bug or a chipmunk.

When I pick the slicers is dependent on a few variables. Typically, I like to pick them when they are starting to orange up. If it is a treasured variety that is not that productive and I only have a few of, I might pick it a bit sooner to assure at least a one makes it in my belly. Something like Matina that is loaded and being picked at the rate of six or seven a day is allowed to go longer. I pick a bit earlier if I will be out of town for a week and not able to keep on top of it. I pick a bit later if they seem to be ripening up slower on the counter. It varies.

Avoiding big balls of red in the garden this time of year allows me to have tomatoes without worm holes and I avoid the feeling of dismay that comes from arriving home and seeing a six inch cherokee purple laying on the ground half eaten with flies on it. The slight flavor trade-off isn't for some, but it sure works great for me!


Daphne said...

I find that to be the case too. Right now I have half my tomatoes with bird netting tied around the bottom foot of the plants. This keeps the dreaded chipmunk from sampling my tomatoes. He would pick every one otherwise. I'm hoping my other set of tomatoes in pails will be safe, but I won't know until they turn red. So far a couple of the Chocolate Cherries are ripe. Maybe he doesn't like black tomatoes.

Tatiana said...

Wow, something I never even considered yet. Mind you I still have no tomatoes, but if I get any this year after all the trials and tribulations I'll be sure to watch them like a hawk.

Stacy said...

Daphne, I swear it seems be the red and deep pink. I have a couple of bright orange ones out there right now and they are being ignored, same thing with Dr. Carolyn (white cherry).

Good luck Tatiana!