Protect Your Tomato Harvest: How to Pick and Ripen Green Tomatoes Before Freezing Weather Arrives

Protect Your Tomato Harvest: How to Pick and Ripen Green Tomatoes Before Freezing Weather Arrives
How To Ripen Green Tomatoes - Homesteading Family

Tomatoes are a great addition to any garden, but the cooler temperatures of late can make it difficult for them to ripen fully. If daytime temperatures remain warm and the plants still look healthy, then you can leave them on the vine with the hope that they will blush before the cold nights arrive. However, if the weather is wet or the plants are diseased, it may be best to bring them in for ripening indoors.

This summer was particularly challenging when it comes to tomato growing. Many were hit by Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus, and those that survived had to struggle through hot August and early September months with limited fruit production. Finally in late September and early October, they began to thrive and set more fruit. Now there are lots of green tomatoes on the plants, and unless nighttime temperatures stay above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, they won't have enough time to ripen properly.

If freezing weather is forecasted, it's best to pick all your tomatoes right away and let them finish ripening indoors. Tomatoes picked while still slightly green will continue to ripen off the vine, although their flavor may not be as sweet as those left on the plant until blushing. To ensure your tomatoes reach full maturity and develop their best flavor, store them at room temperature out of direct sunlight until fully ripe.If you have a large number of tomatoes to ripen, try using the paper bag method. Place your green tomatoes in a brown paper bag and close it up loosely. The ethylene gas released by the fruit will help them ripen faster than if they were left out on their own. Check daily for any that are ripe and remove those so they don't over-ripen or spoil before you can enjoy them!

For smaller batches of tomatoes, place them in shallow trays lined with newspaper or kitchen towels at room temperature away from direct sunlight until fully ripe. If possible, keep temperatures between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit for best results; cooler temperatures may slow down the process while warmer ones could cause some fruits to rot prematurely.

Finally, be sure to check your plants regularly during cold weather spells as frost can damage both foliage and unripened fruit quickly! Covering plants with blankets or sheets is one way to protect against light frosts but won’t do much good when temps fall below 50 two to three nights a week like we've been experiencing lately here in our area. In this case it's best just pick what's left on the vine right away and bring indoors for ripening -hel please!

Is it better to ripen the fruit indoors or leave them on the plants for another couple weeks as the nighttime temperatures start to approach 40 degrees Fahrenheit?

If it's warm in the daytime and the plants are still healthy, you can leave them on to blushing. If the plants are diseased and especially if it's raining, they will probably be better off finishing indoors.

How does cooler nights affect tomato flavor and ripening?

Tomatoes have a more shallow sour taste and they have more and more green streaks in them mixed with the reds when exposed to cooler nights that get down around 40 and below.

What is Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus?

Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV) is a virus that affects tomatoes, causing stunted growth, yellowing of leaves, wilting, and death of the plant. It is spread by thrips, which are tiny insects that feed on the sap of plants.

What should I do if freezing weather is forecasted?

If freezing weather is forecasted, you may want to consider harvesting your tomatoes early and ripening them indoors. You can also cover your plants with a blanket or tarp to help protect them from frost.

How can I protect my tomatoes from frost?

You can cover your plants with a blanket or tarp to help protect them from frost. You can also use row covers, which are lightweight fabric covers that fit over the plants and provide insulation.

What is the best way to ripen tomatoes indoors?

The best way to ripen tomatoes indoors is to place them in a paper bag or cardboard box in a warm, dry place away from direct sunlight. Make sure to check on them every few days and remove any that have started to rot.

How do I know when my tomatoes are ripe?

When tomatoes are ripe, they will be firm but slightly soft to the touch and will have a deep red color. They should also have a sweet aroma. If you cut into the tomato, it should be juicy and have a bright red color throughout.

Is there anything else I should do to ensure my tomatoes stay healthy?

To ensure your tomatoes stay healthy, make sure to water them regularly and fertilize them as needed. Also, keep an eye out for pests and diseases and take steps to control them if necessary. Finally, prune off any dead or diseased leaves or stems as soon as possible.