If you live in a cold climate like I do, you know that frost is on its way. By now you should have been harvesting tomatoes for weeks, and hopefully you’ve been busy canning and preserving all of those yummy homegrown tomatoes. Ooooor maybe not…
Sometimes tomatoes can be slow to ripen. Gardeners start to get pretty nervous when their tomato plants are full of green tomatoes that aren’t ripening, especially this late in the season. If this sounds familiar, and your tomato plants are heavy with large green tomatoes that don’t seem to want to turn red, here are a few tricks you can try to give them one last push to ripen before cold temperatures are here to stay…
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5 Tricks for getting your tomatoes to ripen
- Cut off the new growth – Your tomato plant hasn’t gotten the memo that the gardening season is coming to an end, so help it out by cutting off new growth. It’ll get the message quick.
- Trim off flowers – At this stage in the game, flowers on tomato plants won’t amount to anything, so remove them.
- Pinch off suckers – Suckers are the stems that grow between two main branches of the plant, and they simply suck energy from the plant. Get pinching and remove all those suckers.
- Pluck off tiny tomatoes – I know it’s hard to remove any tomatoes from the plant, but these poor little babies won’t have time to mature before frost, and leaving them on the plant is just wasting energy.
- Trim off some of the leaves – Don’t cut off all of the leaves, but if your tomato plant is huge and full of healthy green leaves, you can trim off some of that vigorous growth.
If the forecast is predicting an early frost, covering the plants overnight is a great way to extend the growing season, and it gives tomatoes more time to ripen on the vine. So make sure you protect your tomato plants from any early frosts.
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These tomato ripening tricks will help your tomato plant focus more of its energy on ripening the mature fruit, rather than wasting energy growing flowers, supporting new growth and producing more tomatoes. Try these tricks, and you should be harvesting gorgeous red tomatoes in no time!
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What tomato ripening tricks would you add to this list?