How long does it take for a tomato to grow and ripen

cdpropJuly 3, 2009

My first tomato set a couple weeks ago, and it's still really green and maybe 1.5" in diameter. It's a big beef so they're supposed to get pretty big.

Also, no other fruit set. A bunch of flowers, though.

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What state R U in? I'm in Texas, also planted beefsteak and the heatwave meant less pollination, and therefore, less fruit. To help combat the heat, I've tried to water 3 X's a week either in the mornings or evenings these past few weeks. The plant looks green and healthy, but I have only 3 green tomatoes which vary in size at this point and I planted April 6th.
My first tomato is now about 3 in. and still green. I wonder when it will start turning red and mature. I'm reading about pruning as I wonder if too many leaves take energy away from fruit development.
My plant is about 4 1/2 ft. high and supported by a cage. Just saw a stink bug and a rat today and read about dusting organically with sabadilla, but not sure where to get it and about using rat traps but don't know what type of bait to use. Any one have suggestions? This is my first attempt. Good luck with your tomatoes. Keep us posted

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 5:51AM
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kandm(8b coastal alabama)

It can take anywhere from 65 to 100 days from the time you transplanted. Also, you have to consider that lycopene, the chemical that gives the fruit it's red color, does not develop when the temperature is in the mid 90s. It is probably doing a lot of it's growing at night.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 6:38AM
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spiced_ham(z5 OH)
    Bookmark   July 4, 2009 at 7:22AM
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When I read that Cherokee Purple takes 80 days, is that 80 days from transplant or 80 days from when the fruit sets? It is my guess that it is from when the fruit sets. If I put my plants out in mid March and the weather does not cooperate I might not even get flowers for 30 to 45 days. Then if The nights are still very cold what blossoms I do get might not be able to polinate and then just drop off.

So, I use the number of days on the package as a general rule-of-thumb and say that that it is approx 80 days from fruit set till I will be eating my first Cherokee Purple BLT.

If anyone actually knows what the seed companies mean when they put the "days" on the package of seeds it would be nice to know.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 8:26PM
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tammysf(9b/10a or sz15/16)

I have 2 big beefs planted in 2 spots in my yard.

I got fruitset on my big beef in cinderblock garden around june 4 and in my wood garden my big beef had fruitset about 2 weeks later.

Ironically they both had a ripe tomatoe on the same day (yesterday) so that should give you a range to work with.

Here is a link that might be useful: garden blog with big beef pics

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 11:32PM
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I usually plant my plants at the end of May/beginning of June, and sometimes get ripe fruits before the end of June.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 11:32PM
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Here was my timeline:

Planted seeds New Years Eve
First flower = 60 days
First tomato (pea size) = 90 days
First red tomato = 150 days
Picked #100 on day 200
As of day 205 I've picked 180

28 plants, all heirlooms except Ramapo

Started seeds New Years (in doors)
In the ground Tax Day (covered, etc, 3 foot tall, w/ marble size tomatoes
First tomato Memorial day

Off and running now with ~25 tomatoes each day or two

Looking for 1000+ tomatoes from 24 plants + 4 in containers = 28 (actually I pulled 2 container ones (yellow brandy cause they were 9 ft tall with 0 tomatoes)

I really think my secret is 2 foot holes 18 in. diameter, sifted and peat/humus into a soft loam. Added some worm eggs from gardens alive, covered with black landscape fabric and hay

Check out my website (thanks to my son)

Here is a link that might be useful: My home garden:

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 10:29PM
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It has been 20 days since our first fruit arrived. It is still only about an inch round and doesn't seem to be progressing. Also the plants leaves have curled,but they have been that way for three week and the plant has not decreased in size. When can i expect to harvest our first fruit?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 9:49AM
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What does it mean when you say "fruit set"?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 9:18PM
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It means a flower is pollinated and a tiny fruit appears.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 9:25PM
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Lesuko(5, Boulder CO)

Hey Kandm- what happens to the tomatoes if they can't ripen? I've had full-sized green tomatoes for more than 2 weeks now. Temps have been in the 90s consistently with a few days breaking in the high 80s. But, this has been going on since June. We don't have many tomatoes- 10-15 per plant on heirlooms. Some less. This is our first year planting heirlooms and have been told they are smaller plants with less fruit than others. So, I'm wondering if it's normal to set less and then the heat took out a few too.

I looked at the tomato timelines that were posted- thanks. Had no idea it took that long to get a tomato- ugh.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 10:12AM
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I've always lamented how late tomatoes are, so this year in addition to in-ground plants, I also planted some early and bush tomatoes in containers. I have been harvesting from the container tomatoes for two or three weeks now, cherries are starting to come on strong, and getting the odd full size tomato. Strategy has worked so far. I think I'm going to have one heck of a harvest to process though when the majority ripens near the same time. I have had a very good year with all plants loaded with so much fruit I have had to stake tomatoes and cages due to the weight of the fruit on just under 40 plants.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 3:09PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

The primary factor in how soon fruits ripen for any individual variety is determiend by the genes that it has, which is what folks refer to as early, midseason and late varieties.

Then there are all sorts of factors that enter in such as soil, what the weather is in any one season, geographic location, if amendments are used and if so which ones, when and how much,how the plants are grown and on and on.

Seed companies often use DTM's which are just sheer guesstimates and often are taken as an average for folks who list a variety in the SSE Annual Yearbook, for members. Those smaller family run companies who do almost all of their own growing and seed saving will post a DTM for just the year it was grown. And even looking at those who list a variety in the SSE YEarbook you'll often see a huge range of days to maturity ( DTM) listed and that time is from when plants are set out whereas in Europe their DTM's are from when seed was sowed.

I prefer to use a range of days for early and mid and late varieties b/c I think it's more helpful and when I read that a variety has a DTM of 72 days, I really do have to chuckle a bit.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 4:36PM
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CDprop (& others) Ive been tracking how long it takes on average to go from fruit set to first ripening. As Carolyn noted, it really does depend upon genetics. With "early" ones going sooner than "late" varieties.

That said, I have developed a fairly good rule of thumb:

For Cherry Tomatoes - its 22-25 days from fruit set to first ripening.

For larger Beefsteak varieties - its 37-41 days from fruit set to first ripening.

Again, this is to first hint of color. Full ripening usually takes another 5-10 days thereafter. Hope that helps...

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 4:46PM
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Hi Capoman, Lesuko, yes intakes time for tomatoes to ripen. I know what u mean about being frustrating, especially cause we've had such hot weather and some of the tomatoes took off then stopped or took forever to make fruit. Most of my toms are in containers. I've always had better luck, no slugs, hopefully no earwigs.....

    Bookmark   August 9, 2012 at 8:07PM
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fcivish(Zone 6 Utah)

I generally grow 100 to 150 tomato plants in my garden every year and have easily grown 500 to 600 varieties over the years. I also breed tomatoes as a hobby, so I am always interested in how long it takes from Fruit Set to Ripeness.

My general rule of thumb is about 25 to 30 days for small and cherry tomatoes and 45 to 60 days for large tomatoes, BUT, it varies based on a lot of factors such as variety, temperature, sun exposure, rain/cloudiness, size of the plant and how many tomatoes the plant is producing.

Some of the 'early' varieties, such as Early Wonder or 4th of July are pretty surprising sometimes. They can produce fruit quite fast, though it isn't large. There are also those varieties such as Oregon Spring and Polar Set that can set fruit even at low temperatures (without being fertilized) and sometimes will produce earlier because they set fruit earlier (though I have never been impressed with the flavor of varieties like that).

If you figure that you plant a small cherry tomato and a large late tomato, such as Italian Sweet or Stump of the World, and the plants grow at about the same rate, and set blossoms at about the same time, then why are the Cherry tomatoes often ripening by late June or early July and the Late Season tomatoes don't produce until mid August? (I'm talking about growth and fruit set under GOOD conditions here in Salt Lake City, Zone 6.) They have ALL been growing and setting fruit at about the same rate, so the difference in dates to ripeness, in that case, are due to genetics and size.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 2:44AM
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