Gardening:Why won't my tomatoes ripen?

To start off with, I live in Tucson, and the only time of year to grow tomatoes is before summer starts and it gets hot. I planted these plants in the winter, but right now every day it’s in the 70s with nights in the upper 40s, and nothing but sunshine.

So, my plants have grown and grown. They are now 3-4 feet high and bushy. They have bright, healthy leaves and flowered abundantly. Tomatoes have grown on them in large numbers. Sounds great… but… the crucial step of those tomatoes turning red hasn’t happened. It’s had green tomatoes for more than a month, and they just aren’t ripening!

They are getting plenty of water and sun… what gives? Any gardening dopers who can help me out?

they may not vine ripen if there is still good growing conditions of light, temperature and moisture. in a more temperate climate they can vine ripen in fall when the conditions change. pick them and then ripen them indoors out of direct sun. they will also ripen faster in a paper bag.

Are they potted, or in the ground? I’ve been told that ripening is linked to soil temperature, not just the air temperature. In some climates, you get better performance by planting them in black pots rather than in the ground. It certainly holds true here in WA.

I just put them in a drawer for a couple of days - viola! Red, ripe tomatoes. My parents were both raised on farms, and that’s what they would do - they might ripen on the vine, but it seems you can’t count on it.

Ok, I’ll try the paper bag and a drawer method and see if I can’t get something yummy out of this.

I’d actually try putting paper bags over the fruits while they’re still on the plant. That way, they’re still getting a buildup of ethene, but they also continue to have access to resources from the plant.

<nerdy nitpick> ethylene not ethane </nn>

ACK!! You said ethene, which is correct :smack:

when vine ripening the tomato they may split if they continue to get water. don’t water them during that time and you may want to pick if you get lots of rain.

ripening in an enclosed space, drawer/box/bag, the accumulated production of the group speeds ripening. newer picked green tomatoes can be accelerated in with a few reddening ones. controlling ventilation and grouping gives lots of control of ripening indoors. very useful if you are doing batches for preservation.

Wow. I must try this (the paper bag) I have lots and lots of sun at 11,200 feet and have never been able to get a tomato past green. We have a bunch of 'matters in our AeroGarden right now and they are just doing nothing. Perhaps the water is too cold.

When life gives you green tomatoes make Fried Green Tomatoes.

Or green tomato relish.


I wish you luck with your tomatoes. The tomatoes grown here in Central NY last year all came down with some horrible blight, and the freeze in Florida in the past couple months - well, let’s say there’s gonna be quite a shortage.