Gardeners' World: Monty Don explains how to harvest tomatoes

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On the latest episode of Gardeners’ World, Monty Don shared how to harvest tomatoes and chillies and how to prune rambling roses. The 67-year-old showed viewers his greenhouse which was filled with tomato plants. Monty said he’s growing a few different varieties of tomatoes this year.

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However, he is growing less tomatoes this year compared to last year because he had a “glut”.

When it comes to harvesting tomatoes, the gardening expert said gardeners need to pick tomatoes when they’re ripe and “eat them as soon as possible”.

He continued: “Most of the tomatoes that you buy will have been picked, not fully ripe with a nice hard skin so they transport well.

“But that means they never develop their full taste.

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“Now, here you can see obviously the green ones are not ripe.

“The orange ones are ripening and this red one might well be ripe.

“I’ll test that. Simply, ‘will it come away in my hand?’ and the answer is yes, really easily.

“So that’s perfect. That has got a lovely soft flesh.

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“I always feel that with a tomato, it should almost feel like a red bag filled with with that sort of acidic sweetness of the juice and the pulp and the seeds.”

Monty said tomatoes should not feel hard when they’re picked.

If they feel like a ball that can be bounced then they’re not ready to harvest.

He added: “When you grow them yourself, that’s the joy of being able to harvest them when they’re ripe.”

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Monty was also growing chillies in his greenhouse alongside the tomatoes.

When it comes to planting crops, tomato plants are a firm favourite in the UK.

Tomato plants may be ready to harvest now for those who sowed tomato seeds in March.

Founder of GardeningExpress Chris Bonnett said gardeners can “supercharge” tomato plants into producing more fruit by using aspirin.

Chris said there are some “unofficial studies” which claim using aspirin can help tomato plants become more resistant to pests and disease.

Aspirin can reportedly improve plant growth, help plants produce tomatoes more quickly and improve the total yield.

The gardening expert said: “If you put one or two aspirin in a watering can, you can spray the plants with the solution and water them as well.

“That produces an immune response in the plant.

“Salicylic acid in the plant basically supercharges the plant against pests and disease and helps it become more resistant.”

Some experts suggest soaking tomato seedlings in an aspirin mix before planting them.

Gardeners’ World can be streamed on BBC iPlayer.

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