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Q. I have really getting big Celebrity tomato plants, with plenty of flowers. I water regularly and they seem to be just fine. However, should I pick the "first" tomato when it is developing? I heard that if a tomato plant develops one nice tomato early in the season, it will suck up the energy from the development of all the others. Is there any truth to this?
A. Yes and yes!
Yes, it's a good idea to pick your plant's first tomato when it's just starting to turn color to blush or pink, rather than leaving it on the plant to ripen fully. That goes for all varieties, not just Celebrity.
Yes, by picking the first few tomatoes before they're completely ripe, you increase the opportunity to increase your plant's yield over the whole season. Early picking allows the plant to pour its energy back into the rest of the fruit left on the vine. Picking tomatoes before they turn red also reduces damage from birds.
Add to that the eagerness you may feel to taste your first tomato of the season, then our best advice is to go for it.
You may need to let your tomato ripen on the counter for a day or two before eating it (more on ripening tomatoes), but in just a few weeks, that same counter will be overflowing with ripe tomatoes.
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