The first day of fall is September 23, which means the end of the growing season. In September and October, there are still a few plants you can plant and grow in the vegetable garden, but most of them are at the end of their life cycle, such as tomatoes. So if you want to keep them for a few more weeks, you must follow some rules. If autumn rains already damage them, you must focus on saving the fruit. So let’s see below how to ripen green tomatoes from the garden and can the harvest be extended until late autumn!
Extending the tomato season – grandmother’s tricks
Caring for tomato plants in the fall is slightly different at this time. This is because the ripening process slows down as the days get shorter. In other words, fruits that develop in September may not ripen until the first frosts arrive. So if your plants are full of green tomatoes, follow these simple tips to help them ripen faster:
- First, remove the lower leaves from the plant. They are not necessary at this stage of development, but they still use some nutritional elements. By removing them, these food resources will be used by the rest of the plant.
- The second important thing is mulching. Put a good layer of mulch of your choice around the stem of the plant to retain the heat of the soil, accumulated throughout the summer longer.
- When talking about heat, other environmental factors affect the ripening of tomatoes.
- We are talking about the wind. First, strong winds lower the ambient temperature, which is responsible for ripening. Second, it elongates the ethylene gas from the fruit, which also has a crucial role. And finally, it creates noise. You will probably be surprised to hear this, but according to scientific research published in ScienceDirect, sound waves delay tomatoes’ ripening by blocking ethylene biosynthesis. We are not physicists to say how strong the sound created by the wind is, but it is certainly not favorable to your plants. So try to build a shelter and protect your plants.
- Stop fertilizing. This is unnecessary. It would help if you focused on ripening green tomatoes, not growing the plant.
You can find great recipes that include green tomatoes. However, if you have more in the garden than you can consume, you can either save them for the winter or ripen them more quickly. Here are the most popular and effective methods.
Ripen green tomatoes In the garden
- As we have already noted, the most critical factor for the ripening of green tomatoes is the amount of ethylene. The good news is that you can increase this amount by tying a few banana peels near the green tomatoes.
- If the weather in your area isn’t warm enough, cover the plants overnight and uncover them in the morning. Again, it’s easier if you have a greenhouse.
- If the plants are too tall, you can only cover the tomatoes. Take large plastic bags (it’s better to reuse them than buy new ones) and cut the bottom to provide ventilation and prevent mold. Then fix them on the stem to cover the entire bunch of unripe tomatoes. This will keep the ethylene and heat close to them.
- Here’s another trick: Wrap copper wire around the stem of the tomato, careful not to hurt it. Thus, more nutrients will reach the fruit. On the other hand, the famous Self Sufficient Me gardener recommends running the copper wire through the rod. We advise trying both methods on different plants and comparing the result.
Ripen Green Tomatoes From The Garden Indoors
If the weather conditions do not allow you to leave your tomato plants outside, you can harvest the fruits and stimulate their ripening indoors. The easiest and most popular method is to place them on a sunny windowsill. The heat will do the rest. For even faster results, find a source of ethylene gas. Fruits like banana, apple, melon, pear, and peach produce a lot. So put one of them in a paper bag with your green tomatoes. In a few days, they will turn red.
⇒ What to do with tomato plants at the end of summer?
⇒ Can we keep our tomato plants in winter?