Ask Darlene….Green tomatoes

Why does it take so long for a green tomato to ripen?

What’s the scoop with green tomatoes? I have a bunch (haven’t picked them yet). What do I need to do so they can ripen? Donna S.

Time and patience for green tomatoes

Great color question, Donna. Tomatoes start out as green fruits and just before they are ripe burst into a blaze of colors including red, yellow, orange or, even purple. The long and short of it is just time and patience.

Mini tomatoes ripen on the vine
Mini tomatoes ripening on the vine

What is your planting zone?

Based on your location here on planet Earth, you can also check your planting zone on a map to guess when things may start to turn. Click on this helpful link from The Farmer’s Almanac for more details. It is possible to be on the border of two zones. Remember this is a guide, you can experiment to see what works best for your garden.

To pick or not to pick those green tomatoes

If you are in a zone where you know the frost and possibly freezing temperatures are coming fast, grab your buckets. You can reference how to prepare your garden for freezing temperatures in my post Saving The Garden From Frost.

Harvesting before the frost.

Use anything you can to grab all of the tomatoes and bring inside your home. Leaving them out is a risk and if they freeze, they will get squishy and rot. Great for the squirrels, not so much for the humans.

Treasure chest of tomatoes

Where you ask? Why in the basement of course! Take all of your green tomatoes and put them in any kind of open container for storage. If you don’t have a basement, any cool place in your house will suffice. Don’t put them in the refrigerator, sometimes that can cause the tomatoes to have a mealy texture. I know sounds silly, but we do this every Fall and most years we’ve had freshly ripened tomatoes well into December.

Tomatoes can ripen inside your home, after harvesting before a frost.
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Enjoy your tomatoes, Donna!

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