Ripen Those Tomatoes

Here we are almost into September, and THOSE DANG TOMATOES ARE STILL GREEN !!!!!!

Of my 60+ plants, only about 9 have had ripe fruit. Those planted in February in the greenhouse and a few others have been the only ones to ripen as of yet. As usual, the first varieties to ripen were  Stupice and Glacier  (about a month ago). The variety Early Girl was next, with Sungold and Sun Sugar following.

Here are three things you can do to encourage your plants to start ripening their fruit:

About this time each year I start giving the plants a haircut, cutting off all the blooms (not on the cherry varieties), and cutting off all the growing tips. For the larger tomatoes, I also cut off all the small green tomatoes that will not be big enough to use by frost (usually October 15th to October 31st). This forces the plant to put all its remaining energy into the other larger tomatoes.

The other trick to help ripen the green tomatoes is to limit or cut off watering. This stresses the plant and it works harder to ripen fruit (ripe fruit contain seeds that will germinate next year, and the plant wants to make sure it produces seed before winter). The only downside, is that if you do this too early, it might encourage blossom-end-rot (that brown/black leathery spot on the bottom of the tomato).

A third thing you can do is to try and protect the plants from cool/cold temps, by covering them with plastic, or at night with blankets or other wraps such as remay. Remember the cool ground is a problem too.

Looking for a fun way to celebrate Tomatoes? On September 11th Farmington Gardens is hosting it’s 8th annual Tomato Fest.

And here is some good information on tomato growing: Tomatoes – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Growing, Choosing and Using Tomatoes.

Thank you Bob Woods for contributing this post! Bob has been a dedicated Growing Gardens volunteer, Board Member,  supporter & adviser for over 10 years. Bob is a Master Gardener in Clackamas County, and he and wife tend a prolific garden in Oregon City.  Thanks you Bob for all you do!

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