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Darn tomatoes aren't ripe yet!

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by hollers on August 05, 2005 05:09 AM
OK...it's August 4th and I maybe have two or three tomatoes that are beginning to ripen. Last year at this time I was already enjoying delicious 'mater sandwiches. What's the deal? I planted my Celerities and Better Boy (plants - not seeds) at the end of May. I have a lot of mature-looking fruit...it just won't turn red. Does anyone have any ideas as to why? I live in Pittsburgh, PA.

Thanks in advance for any ideas/suggestions.
by Longy on August 05, 2005 09:01 PM
Hey Hollers, not sure of the particular problem, but tomatoes ripen with temperature.If it aint warm, they won't do the deed. However, don't be tempted to pick them and or put them in full sun. it isn't the sun that ripens, it's the ambient temperature. Are you having a coolish summer? I dunno. But patience has more than once proven itself to be the answer. if all else fails, i can get a recipe for green tomato chutney. Yummo.

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The secret is the soil.
by gchughes on August 05, 2005 09:20 PM
I believe that Longy is right, but the effect of the direct sunlight can have an effect on the ripening of tomatoes. I have some on the less sun side that always ripen last. This allows me to enjoy them over the entire season, rather than many of them ripening all at once! Check the amount of direct sunlight, shade, etc. You'll be eating tomatoes when people are having to buy them in the store!
by Longy on August 05, 2005 10:05 PM
Hey GC. You're right of course. Tomatoes on the sunny side will ripen when those on the shady side will not. My point is that it's not the light of the sun that does it, but the temperature. Too much sun can cause sunburn which ruins the fruit. Too little temperature will prevent the fruit from ripening. So be patient Hollers. And if, as i said, all else fails, green tomato chutney is awesome...

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The secret is the soil.
by hollers on August 05, 2005 10:14 PM
Thanks for your responses. Thing is, we've been having a brutally hot summer here in Pittsburgh. We just had four straight days of above 90 degree temperatures. It's been in the upper 80s and low 90s all summer. In fact, this has been one of the hottest summers on record. This is the third year I've planted tomatoes (in pots) and I've had them in the same spot on my deck all three years. Like I said, I was already eating tomatoes last year at this time. So...with all the hot weather..and my plants getting the same amount of sunlight they've gotten the previous years (although little rain - but I keep them watered)..I can't figure why I don't have a ripe 'mater yet!!

Thanks for your input. I guess I'll just have to be patient!
by Longy on August 05, 2005 10:43 PM
They just aint ready mate. And no amount of anything green will force 'em.
BTW, greetings from the warmest winter i've had in Oz for ever too.
Weathers' a mess, little wonder the plants are stuffed up.
I don't think we had a frost this year. We normally get a light 3 or 4 with maybe a heavy one or two. This year, nothing under zero! Must've been something we burnt;-)

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The secret is the soil.
by tkhooper on August 05, 2005 11:10 PM
I just got my first ripe tomato this week and they are now starting to ripen pretty regularly one or two every other day. I have eight plants they are roma tomatoes. I live in virginia below you and have had a bunch of hot weather. I planted my tomatoes as seeds in April of this year.
by Sorellina on August 06, 2005 12:22 AM
Ciao hollers,

Sounds like you might also be in USDA zone 5 like I am. I remember visiting PA one summer and it got brutally humid like it is here in Toronto. Humidity, with all of its moisture, makes it tough for the tomato plants to pollinate and set fruit. Earlier in the season when it wasn't as humid, your plants probably set some fruit and then stalled, as some of mine have. Don't despair, they WILL ripen, but it's been a brutal summer for all of us Great Lakers. My best advice to you is to water once a week during drought conditions for about 2 hours with a soaker hose and mulch your plants with some straw to conserve moisture. That will hopefully stave off foliage disease and prolong the season. Environment Canada has predicted a warm Fall for us which most likely will trickle down to you as well. If that's the case, we should at least get an extended harvest.

Buona fortuna,
Julianna

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by rozy221 on August 06, 2005 12:36 AM
I read somewhere that, in temperatures over 90, tomato plants lots of times will kind of "take a break"-stop producing flowers and maybe even dropping some already-formed tomatoes. Not sure if the same applies to ripening, but, if all other conditions are the same as in the past, except for the heat, then I'd wager to say that that's the prob-good luck!
by hollers on August 06, 2005 04:32 AM
Thanks, everyone, for the comments and advice. I guess I'll just have to wait a little while longer!! And hopefully, like Julianna says, I'll get an extended season with a warm fall!

Thanks again!
Holly
P.S. Like Toronto, it has been extremely humid here this summer, too.
by LMT on August 06, 2005 08:07 AM
Mine are a bit late too and I think I get frost before you do. At least I have peppers this year.

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Currently listening to: Vince Guaraldi Trio -- A Charlie Brown Christmas. Adult and contemporary but evocative of youth and innocence, a must own CD.
by weezie13 on August 06, 2005 09:31 AM
I just got my first two cherry tomatoes!!!! [clappy] [clappy]

My big one's are a long way off from getting
big, let alone red!!!

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by tkhooper on August 06, 2005 09:05 PM
Hay Weezie, congrats on the cherry tomatoes. Did they make it in the house before they got eaten? lol. My first tomato barely made it lol.
by hollers on August 09, 2005 10:04 PM
Hello!

Just wanted to let everyone know you were right. Patience was the key. I now have several tomatoes in varying stages of red!! Yippee!! We ate a couple this weekend, and of course, they were yummy!! Better late than never!! [Embarrassed] )

Holly
by weezie13 on August 09, 2005 11:14 PM
Tammy,
quote:
Hay Weezie, congrats on the cherry tomatoes. Did they make it in the house before they got eaten? lol. My first tomato barely made it lol.
I can't remember ever a cherry tomato being brought into the house, other than to put in my husbands lunch salad...
They NEVER EVER make it into the house... [Embarrassed] [Wink] [Big Grin]
Those are my snacks to keep me going outside... [Cool] [lala]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by weezie13 on August 09, 2005 11:15 PM
Hollers,
Congrat's on those maters!!!
Isn't that one of THE BEST FEELINGS IN THE WORLD?

Fresh homegrown, freshly picked and made in the kitchen........YUMMMMMMY, you just can't beat it...

Unless of course you have a other home grown veggies WITH IT!!! [Wink]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by hollers on August 11, 2005 12:44 AM
Hi, Weezie!

Thanks. Yes...there is absolutey nothing better!! When I bit into the first one, I felt as if I were in heaven, and it made all the work and worrying over my plants worth it! Now my summer is complete!! [Embarrassed]

Take care,
Holly
by Meg on August 11, 2005 01:16 AM
Awesome hollers!

My couple tomatoes are still very green. [Roll Eyes] I don't even know how they'll be.. they were the "tiny tim" tomatoes that came with my wonder egg seeds! [Big Grin]

I do have some roma plants, and I think one of the 3 plants I put out, has 1-2 teeny tiny tomatoes on it. Steve was certain I'd not see ANY tomatoes, for as late a start as I got on them.. they aren't even all that tall. I'd say my tallest is *maybe* 3 feet tall.

Meg

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I reject your reality, and substitue my own!
My favorite digital camera photos that I took.
My family, garden, and a bunch of misc. photos!
by DaisyM on August 13, 2005 02:56 AM
In Canada where I am, the weather has been pretty erratic. We started off cool with a late spring, had some beautifully hot temps in July, but the evenings in the last 2 days feel like fall weather. Normally by this time, I have tomato's the size of baseball, this year they are green and the size of cherries or plums. The only one that I had success with is called Early Cascade Hybrid. I've picked 3 ripe tomato's. As for the rest of them, I don't think there is enough time in the season before the frost hits for them to increase in size, let alone ripen. Oh well, I guess no canning this year.
by ArtichokeBunny on August 19, 2005 07:47 AM
I'm having the same problem as many others have mentioned: I have tons of green tomatoes even though it's been warm for a long time and it's already August 18th!

Because my garden isn't in my backyard (but rather a plot in a community garden), I've had a hard time keeping a close eye on it. That, combined with a busy schedule, has let my 4 tomato plants get out of control! They're huge and bushy and brimming with green tomatoes. They've been that way for at least a month now, with the exception of a few ripe cherry tomatoes. I try to remove the suckers and pinch off the terminal ends, but there are too many branches to get ahold on. One of 'em is so heavy it broke its cage and fell over on top of my strawberries! My problem is that I am leaving the country to study abroad in a month!

My question is this: Can I cut off a bunch of branches, even those with fruit on them, w/o seriously harming the plant? Would this help the plants fruit ripen a bit faster? This is my first time gardening and I'll be so sad if I never got to taste the fruits of my labor!
by Longy on August 19, 2005 05:40 PM
LOL. Patience Bunny. I'm sure you'll get a feed by the end of the month. You sound like Hollers did at the start of the month:-)

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The secret is the soil.
by Sorellina on August 19, 2005 09:23 PM
Ciao Bunny,

You can prune tomato plants if you choose, but all you'll be doing is maybe concentrating the plant into producing larger tomatoes. This is what fair contestants do to get those monster tomatoes. However, if your plant isn't a monster-sized tomato variety, you'll just end up with less fruit. I'd leave the plant to its own devices as God intended and just practice patience.

Buona fortuna,
Julianna

PS FYI for all of you waiting somewhat impatiently for your tomatoes to ripen: I've got over 50 different varieties in the garden and over 150 plants if I bothered to count them all (and that doesn't include the volunteers). Some of them I've already pulled up as their season is over and replaced them with clones and some of them I've yet to harvest. Some of the latter aren't even showing any signs of blush yet. So it really depends on your transplant timing, the variety(ies) you're growing, and environmental conditions. Patience, grasshoppers ;o)

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by Longy on August 19, 2005 09:37 PM
Hey Sorellina. How much cross pollination do you get between your different varieties? Or do you take steps to prevent that?

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The secret is the soil.
by Sorellina on August 19, 2005 10:29 PM
Longy,

I use organza bags (the kind used for wedding favours) to cover blossom clusters because I grow plants 2' apart. I remove the bags once the fruit has set and tie a bright-coloured ribbon around the stem to let me know which fruit I need to use for seed-saving. When those fruit are ripe, I squish them into small yogurt cups labelled with the variety name, including seeds and some pulp. That's left out of direct sunlight for at least 5 days until a mat of fungus appears on the top (you may want to do this outside if your nose is delicate). I then pour that off and rinse the seeds several times, being careful not to wash them down the drain, letting the pulp and lighter seeds wash out. What's left in the bottom are clean seeds without the gel. Those get poured onto a labelled paper plate and left to dry, again out of direct sunlight. This drying step can be done inside the house if you have the room. That's all there is to that.

Hope that helps,
Cheers,
Julianna

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by freestacy01 on August 20, 2005 11:28 PM
Hi All,

I'm here in Maine, and have just started having my tomatoes ripen. I have Big Boy, Yellow, and Jelly bean. I planted in the beginning of June and was starting to think mine were not going to ripen either, but, lo and behold, I was blessed! Glad I read this forum and had the patience that was recommended!
Stacy
by dbb on August 23, 2005 12:16 AM
An old wives tale says that if you lay a ripe banana near unripe fruit or vegetables it speeds up the ripening process - worth a try if you're desperate or have any over-ripe bananas you don't want to eat!
by junjun on August 23, 2005 04:04 PM
hi guys! does anyone out there grew a tomato as big as squash. [dunno] if anyone of you guys did it. can you share to me how did you do it! [Smile]
by Sorellina on August 24, 2005 12:00 PM
lol junjun, what kinda squash? There are lots of little squashes out there, as many really as the huge ones. What poundage (or kilogrammage) are we talking about here? I harvested a Marianna's Peace today that was over 1.5 lbs and a bicolour Burracker's Favourite last week that was just shy of 2 lbs. There are even larger varieties than these that didn't make it into my garden, but I don't do anything special besides amending the soil in Fall and again in Spring and providing a root-prodding fertilizer at transplanting time.

freestacy, how do you like your Jellybean tomatoes? I confess to being interested in that variety based on its name alone...it's my nickname. Are they good producers? When did you transplant out?

Cheers,
Julianna

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by freestacy01 on August 24, 2005 11:28 PM
Julianna,

I really like the Jellybean tomatoes. They are very meaty and a sweet tomato. I actually made it into the house with a few, to try them in a salad. Better than Roma, but, smaller.

I started them in April in my basement, than transplanted them to my garden in early June. As you know we had a to chilly spring to put them out in May. I will certainly grow these next year.

Stacy (freestacy)

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