speeding ripening of tomatos--thru stressing

Grandpabud(s.w.MI 5/6)August 19, 2001

Speeding ripening of tomatos by stressing plants by removing all growing points, or cutting roots about ten inches all around the plant. These ideas have been suggested to speed up the ripening process.

Does anyone have first hand knowledge of the "stressing" helping or having any value??

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imcrafts_home_com

Does this mean if I cut off the new growth at the top of the plant, that my green tomatos will turn red!! :)

I haven't gotten ONE red tomato yet!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2001 at 11:14PM
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sunshine_amy(z5 - Western MA)

I've read that pinching the "suckers" (the new shoots that grow in the nook of an existing branch) when they're small, is a good way to speed ripening. Makes for smaller plants that mature faster.

When you say "stressing," that reminds me that I saw a couple of my more "stressed out" plants ripen faster this year! The ones that I forgot to transplant, and left in pots. Plants that were tiny compared to their in-the-ground partners...but lo and behold, they were the first to produce flowers and fruit. Not very big as plants, but early. Maybe the pot-bound environment tells the plant to stop growing and start reproducing (fruiting). ?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2001 at 11:27PM
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daisyherbs_powr_net

We grew tomatoes for commercial sales when I was a kid on the farm. I don't recall any of the names, except Bradley and Arkansas Traveler, that we raised. When the 'suckers' (growth btwn the leaf and the stem) began to grow, we pinched them off. This was called 'pruning'. We let the tops grow straight up, and tied them to 'sticks' which would now be called 'stakes'. When the third cluster of tomatoes set, we 'topped' them, meaning pinched the top out of the plant. This made all the food go into maturing and ripening the tomatoes. Acres and acres of these, all done by hand, and by the time that third cluster was ripe, we were real sick and tired of tomatoes.

Somebody said Texas Gardener magazine had an article about cutting the tomato plants off at the ground, and letting them grow back for fall tomatoes. Have a friend who is trying this. Will be interesting to see the results.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2001 at 8:14PM
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metaxa(Outsider)

We have cooler nights than tomatoes really care for. I have always pinched off the top and any remaining flowers when a plant has set a goodly number of green fruit. seems to work as I have ripe tomatoes earlier than neighbour and more ripen than his. Regards: Metaxa

    Bookmark   August 22, 2001 at 3:56AM
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veilchen(5b southern Maine)

I read a book somewhere where the author swore by root pruning to get the tomatoes to ripen quick. Have not tried this myself though.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2001 at 6:26AM
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extractorcdm_famrc_org

out hear in the Inland North West early frost and green tomatos is always a concern (have you ever tried green tomoto pie,casserole, relish, catsup and O-yes my favorite fried with eggs). at first indication of frost water plants cover with two layors of nursey ground covering. I think that the radiant heat held in by the covering and the sudden lack of sun light "shocks them". In approx two weeks you will have a increasing number of red tomatos.It also keeps the frost off, keep watered works for me.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2001 at 1:48PM
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Gyurkovitz

Here with no rain from mid-April to at least mid-September cutting off water works well for shocking tomatoes. Unfortunately I wasn't paying attention this season and let my plants go without water for nearly a month-before they were big enough to dry out, the result? I have Brandywine and Beefmaster cherry tomatoes! (the largest is the size of an enormous Roma)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2001 at 12:06PM
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KAYGARDENER(BAY AREA--CALIF)

IT WOULD SEEM THAT TOMATOES HAVE A CERTAIN AVERAGE TIME TO MATURITY, ASSUMING EVERYTHING ELSE IS OK,(HEAT, WATERING, ETC)... ALL I KNOW IS HOW TO PROLONG RIPENING SEASON, SINCE OUR HOT WEATHER IN THE MARITIME PACIFIC NW HIT AROUND AUGUST, 2 MONTHS DELAY AFTER SUMMER SOLSTICE...ABOUT LABOR DAY, I PINCHED OFF ALL BLOSSOMS & FRUITS 1/4" DIAMETER OR LESS,& PUT PLASTIC OVER CAGES TO CONSERVE HEAT. I KEPT PINCHING NEXT FEW WEEKS,& ALSO PICKED OFF YELLOWING OR BLACK SPOTTED LEAVES ON THE BOTTOM OF THE PLANT... THE FIRST LIGHT FROST AVERAGES ~MID OCTOBER, BUT HARD RAINS DON'T USUALLY START UNTIL HALLOWEEN, THEN IT IS TIME TO PICK REMAINING GREEN TOMATOES & RIPEN INDOORS FOR STEWING TOMATOES...I SKIP STORE BOUGHT TOMATOES, UNLESS THEY HAVE A GOOD RIPE TOMATO SMELL, OTHERWISE THEY TASTE LIKE WATERY OR PLASTIC... HOME GARDENING SPOILED ME. K

    Bookmark   January 30, 2003 at 4:06AM
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dazmet(NE England)

The whole purpose of the tomato is to produce seeds for the next generation of plants. If you stress the plant enough to make it think its going to die it will put all of its energy into getting its seeds ripe asap. The trick is to get the plant to think its going to die but not to actually kill it before it has time to ripen the fruits.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2003 at 3:16PM
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madmagic(dtown Toronto)

Hi. I've done the root-pruning method and it worked very well for me. I'd never heard of it until I read Dick Raymond's book, Joy of Gardening. If I recall correctly, this is what he suggested, and what I did:

1) Wait until the tomato plants have set fruit and the fruit are a good healthy size, that "they've been big and green for a week but they're still not getting ripe!!" look.

2) Take an ordinary garden shovel or spade, and using the width of the shovel/spade blade -- usually about eight inches at the digging end -- measure off about eight inches from the stem at soil level.

3) Eight inches away from where the plant stem goes into the soil, push the shovel/spade straight down into the soil on three sides of the plant. Not four; three. (The goal is to prune the roots back around most of the plant, not to kill it.)

4) Water the tomato plant right away after you prune it. Might be a good idea to do the root-pruning and watering in the early evening, so the plant has time overnight to recover.

Raymond said the damage to the plant would cause it to immediately start to ripen fruit, and I found it worked. Within a day or two, green tomatoes started turning red. My plants kept producing new flowers and fruit after the pruning, and they stayed productive into the first hard frost.

The main caution I would advise is to wait until the green tomatoes are looking full-sized for the plant. I've never tried root-pruning with immature fruit; just plants which had full-size fruit that were in that long, slow, waiting-to-ripen stage.

FWIW, I did this in a backyard garden in Toronto where the owner and another tenant also had gardens, and both prided themselves on the quality and size of their tomato plants. Felt kinda good to have the first ripe ones of the season. :)

All the best,
-Patrick

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 3:32AM
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truthrevy_earthlink_net

Stressing seems to be the key,nomatterhow the stress comes. Or so it had appeared to me, one season.

I had done a dumb thing and spread a whole box of muleteam borax soap on my 10' by 50' tomatoe garden. (all "indeterminate" cherry tomatoes)

The plants were quite big, and I had topped them often, to make them bushy. The horn worms were popping up everywhere! It seemed out of control. That's when I heard of powdering the leave with borax. I over did it. It rained and poisoned the soil. The plants stressed big time. I then over watered everyday till the cows came home. Neighbors complained of water over flows into their yards. I didn't care.

In about three weeks the plants showed good health but only after every watering. (a couple dasys without and they'd wilt, badly.) The ripening proccess after that was astounding.

The out-put was ten fold. I averaged over 100 tomates per day. The buds would show in the morning and by evening there were bulbs. The next morning the bulbs were half sized. The next day the tomatoes would be grouping like grapes on a vine. The next day the groupings were partially yellow,and by the evening some would be red. The next morning I'd find everyone in the group perfectly ripe with scins that would melt in your mouth. In three months I picked over 8000 tomatoes from that little bitty garden and never understood why until reading the above posts.

Thank you for the info............ ===mike===

Here is a link that might be useful: Message To Earthlings

    Bookmark   October 21, 2005 at 10:00PM
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