Green Tomatoes

I dutifully put in my tomato plants in early June, after the threat of frost was over, and they have been growing well over the past few months as the weather continued to warm up.

I live in Northwest Montana at about 3,500 feet if that matters.

Over the past 3 weeks the weather has been hot, in the low 90’s, and there is a lot of fruit on the vines. Unfortunately all of that fruit is green and I see no evidence of ripening.

The weather is starting to cool off now, and the highs will drop from the 80’s to the 70’s (and perhaps the 60’s) over the next few weeks. The evenings are starting to cool off dramatically too.

So what can I do to force the tomatoes? Last year I brought them into the house about this time and they all became rotten.

Any suggestions?

Larger breeds take the longest, maybe as long as 90 days but seldom longer. I would try and be patient they should be comming along anytime now.

try putting them in a brown paper bag with a ripening banana. commercial tomatoes are often picked green and ripened with a gas.

Leave them outside until there is a threat of frost.

Even then, if it’s only going to be an overnight frost, you can cover the plants with an old bedsheet and remove it at sunup.

If you’re at the point where you’ll have sustained temperatures below freezing, go out to the garden and harvest any green tomatoes that have a small white star-shaped spot on the bottom, these will ripen indoors. If they’re still fully green on the bottom, use them to make fried-green tomatoes or green tomato relish.

Also, don’t try to force them to ripen. The reason a home-grown tomato tastes good is because it’s allowed to become ripe! If you force it with a banana or apple, you’ll get the same tasteless pink garbage you get at the supermarket.

Fried green tomatoes!!! Delicious.

leave them out, cover if frost chances. be sure to uncover during the day.

if they don’t ripen on the vine then they will ripen after they are picked.

Ah, nope. A natural mutation in the 1930s that resulted in a more uniform red color for tomatoes killed their taste. That mutation was deliberately exploited for commercial purposes. The downside is practically all tomatoes today taste like crap, but they look nice. :slight_smile:

If you grow your own tomatoes that do not contain that mutation, you’ll have the taste but not the look.

Or jam. Green tomatoes jam. And then send it over to me.



Mmmm, fried green tomatoes. :slight_smile:

“quoted for truth.”

(Somebody used that on me the other day. I had to look it up. Since I’m new to these boards I figured I was the only sapient extant that didn’t already recognize all the contracronyms. Sorry)

Read as: Dude’s right! or What he said!

I grow tomatoes in a similar situation, and I always ripen them in a drawer. They ripen up fine, and they taste delicious. Leave them on the vine as long as you can, but don’t be afraid to take them inside and ripen them up in the dark somewhere (I don’t use a banana because I think they’d taste of banana then).

That was interesting, I didn’t know the green shoulders were adding sugars to the fruit. I will stand by my statement about forcing, though. I’m a tomato [del]snob[/del] enthusiast (just picked 22lbs of tomatoes out of the garden today) and I’ve tried every trick for getting tomatoes early and extending the season. Tomatoes forced to ripen before their time don’t taste as good, it probably has something to do with those green shoulders! But you are right that they will still be better than supermarket crap.

My mother always started the plants in the house and moved them to a cold frame before planting - she would start way too early, and let the potted plants get to a fair size in the cold frame before they finally ended up in the ground.

I wish I had her patience, and her green thumb. I have a black thumb [I am better with animals than plants :frowning: ]