Fall Tomatoes

csross(9)October 30, 2013

This is my first year with a vegetable garden, a raised bed in Riverside, CA. I have a hybrid (Celebrity) that stopped setting fruit in August, but then restarted and is now loaded with small green tomatoes (marble to tennis ball size.) Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get the most ripe tomatoes?

Based on a quick internet search, I'll get a first frost in mid-December. We're currently getting lows between 45-55F, and highs 65-80F. Do I start pinching off flowers, so they don't set fruit that won't ripen? Or try to cover the plants on nights with a frost warning? I read something in the tomato forum about partially cutting some roots, so it stresses the plant and forces it to ripen faster. When would I try that?

I also planted a Cherokee Purple in early Sept, and it's 2 ft tall and healthy, but none of the blossoms have set fruit. Is there anything I can do to encourage it, or is it too late for that plant?

Thanks for all your help!

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I have had some success here in the valley (zone 10) by covering the plants at night with pillow cases or wrapping cages in towels. I don't know about cutting roots or such. Sometimes you can overwinter a plant.
I just pulled out my tomatoes this last weekend. Mine also stopped setting fruit due to too temp well over the 90s. it wasn't a good tomato year over all for me. I decided to stop wasting water on them and start fresh with my fall lettuces herbs and such. Imam now happily tending to them and watching for little nibbles.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 9:06AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

You can pick them green and let them ripen in the house. Even picked green home-grown tomatoes have more flavor than store-boughts.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 6:03PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

I would put down red plastic under the tomatoes, and if you can, some screening to create a little microclimate to let them continue to ripen, as well as keeping that area a little warmer. See if you can coax some tomatoes. Plus, consider planting some of the more cold tolerant cultivars that should be showing up at your garden centers about now, that do well in our S. Calif. winters.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 3:01PM
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CA Kate

I'm still getting ripe tomatoes. I've gotten ripe tomatoes at Christmas with no protection.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 7:48PM
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