Wednesday, September 15, 2010

TOMATOES: Ripening problems this summer?

I don't know about you, but if you live in the North East Mid Atlantic States, we didn't have a great summer for tomatoes.  Most people I talk to had the same problem. It's nothing you as a gardener did, and there was not much you as a gardener could do. And here is why.

According to my newsletter I get from Penn State Extension Gardeners Newsletter, when temperatures are above 85° F, tomatoes do not produce lycopene and carotene, the pigments responsible for ripe tomato color.

The optimum temperature range for ripening mature green tomatoes is 68°-77° F. The further the termperatures stray from the optimum, the slower the ripening process will be.  Most of the summer, we had 90+ degree days.

We pulled some off the vine and let them ripen indoors, but they aren't the same as when they ripen on the vine. Tomatoes that reach mature green stage can be ripened off the vine, so if the weather man is predicting frost, gather then and bring them in! 

The temperatures are more favorable now, so they should be pushing and ripening like crazy for you now!

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