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Gardener warns of common mistake that may be causing problems with your tomatoes: 'I have lost so many'

Once it reaches this "breaking stage," the tomato doesn't take in any more nutrients from the plant.

Once it reaches this "breaking stage," the tomato doesn’t take in any more nutrients from the plant.

Photo Credit: TikTok

Tomatoes are so popular with home gardeners that nearly everyone who grows their own food includes the juicy fruit (often classified as a vegetable) in their garden.

The scoop

Calling it "heartbreaking to lose a beautiful tomato to rain or sun or the dogs," TikToker Hopelessgarden (@hopelessgarden) shared a tip for fellow greenthumbs who have problems with their crop.

@hopelessgarden Its heartbreaking to lose a beautiful tomato to rain or sun or the dogs! #gardentok #garden #gardening101 #squarefootgardening #squarefootgarden #gardening #gardenmistakes #gardenmistake #tomatoesoftiktok ♬ original sound - Hopelessgarden

"One mistake I have learned from is when you have beautiful tomatoes just about to blush and turn color, you definitely want to pick them," they said. "The idea of vine-ripened tomatoes really doesn't mean much. They're actually much safer in your house, where you can watch them and eat them right at their peak freshness."

How it's helping

When growing tomatoes, there are so many varieties to choose from. There are also plenty of problems to troubleshoot if something goes wrong: Was it disease, an insect, the environment, or the soil?

In this case, Hopelessgarden said they had "lost so many tomatoes" because they fell over or "from the dogs pulling them off or from rainstorms." They "could've just ripened on my sill," she added.

"Contrary to popular belief, allowing your tomatoes to stay on the vine does not allow them to develop more flavor," reports Old World Garden Farms. "Nor does it help them to turn a deeper or brighter shade of red. In fact, once the tomato begins to slightly turn color, it can no longer help the tomato at all."

Once it reaches this "breaking stage," the tomato doesn't take in any more nutrients from the plant.

Old World Garden Farms suggested, however, avoiding windowsills and other hard surfaces. The site recommended keeping tomatoes out of direct sunlight and in an area with natural airflow, such as a covered porch or patio where it is 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade. Using an old screen window, metal wicker table, bread rack, or drying rack can help air reach the underside of the produce.

What's good for the fruit is also good for the farmer.

Studies have shown that community gardeners benefit from the practice with increased fiber intake, increased activity levels, and decreased stress and anxiety.

Home gardens contribute to sustainable development as well by conserving habitats and species and acting as carbon sinks.

What everyone's saying

Commenters were excited about the hack.

"Good to know!!" one wrote.

Another said, "Good tip! Plus this crazy hot weather makes them stall so it is better to pluck them off and bring them in."

And Hopelessgarden replied to a commenter who noted the tiny green tomatoes they had picked were not ripening.

"You need to wait until they have some colour and then pick," they said. "You can always pickle or just eat green tomatoes so they don't get wasted."

One commenter advised cutting the vine as well, and others said their relatives had a similar solution.

"My grandma always stored hers in boxes under newspaper," one person wrote.

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