Monday, July 25, 2016

Do You Have Ripe Tomatoes Yet? By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo by Joyce D'Agostino

Do you have the best tomatoes on your block – but they’re still green? Are you wondering when you will get that first ripe tomato?

You’re not alone with these concerns. It seems many of us work hard to get our tomatoes started so that they are strong healthy plants when you are ready to set them outside, with the hope of early and abundant harvest only to find that they are slowed down by weather issues.  It seems we get by the cold and wet springs only to suddenly be exposed to the hot and dry late spring and summer weather.

Photo courtesy tomato casual.com
If you have noticed your plants look healthy but your tomatoes are taking their time to continue to bloom and to ripen those green tomatoes, you’re not alone. The weather has a lot to do with a tomato’s growth and development. Most of us think that tomatoes are hot weather plants but actually the high temperatures and dry air can be two things that slow down your plants. The heat and drought can result in your plants producing but dropping blossoms before they mature and even the pollen in the blossoms can dry out during these heat spells.

The following garden notes have great tips on helping your tomatoes along during weather challenges. Keeping your plants properly hydrated and mulched can help in the process.

Also, it is important when considering when you will get your tomatoes to ripen to know that tomatoes can be categorized as early, mid and late season producers. This means that given average growing conditions, you can expect your tomato to produce early in the season, about mid-season or be one that produces the harvest toward the end of the growing season. If you expected to have your first ripe tomato by July for example and it is still growing and is producing green tomatoes more slowly than your others you might have a mid or late season variety. Researching what season your tomatoes will produce will help avoid the confusion or frustration thinking that there is something wrong with your tomato.  If you live in an area that has shorter than average growing seasons, and you want your tomatoes as early as possible, you may want to consider early to mid-varieties. Check your seed packet for days to harvest to know if this fits into your area and check with your local extension office for additional help. What might be a great tomato in one region may take too long to give desirable results in other areas.  

For more tips on tomatoes, refer to these CSU Extension bulletins:

Vegetable Garden Hints