Still no ripe tomatoes

scrapbetterMay 18, 2012

I have had lots of little tomatoes everywhere for almost a month now and still not one single ripe tomato! I do not remember ever having to wait this long once I saw the fruits!

My odd little cucumber plant has bloomed though! I am so excited. It was just a variety that I planted for fun, and now I cannot wait to see if I actually get to try little yellow cucumbers! :)

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Every variety is different in terms of how long it takes for a tiny, young green tomato to mature to a large, ripe tomato. Some of the early DTM varieties can produce fruit in about 50 days. Others take 90-100 days or even longer. There's nothing you can do except wait for nature to take its course. Many green tomatoes will set there at virutally their full mature size for a month or more before they even begin to break color.

I've linked a website below that shows the progression of a Big Beef tomato. Look at how long it takes!

Most of the tomatoes I'm harvesting now actually set on the plants in March or early April, if they helps you to evaluate when you planted and when you first saw small fruits.

My earliest plants went into large pots in the third week of February. They began producing ripe fruit about the last week of April. Tomato plants I transplanted into the ground on March 12th and 13th have produced ripe cherry types so far, with the earliest bite-sized fruit on those tomatoes being ripe around the last week of April or first week in May. Though all those March-transplanted plants have produced tons of green fruit, none of the larger tomatoes have ripened yet. They've been in the ground about two months, so we will be harvesting the first full-sized ripe fruit from them soon. Based on what I'm seeing on the various plants, the harvest will be very heavy once it starts.

I also think that all the plants in containers have produced ripe or almost-ripe fruit whereas the plants in the ground are further behind them, even though some of the plants in the ground were planted before some of the plants in containers. I suspect the containers are producing better because I have pretty much total control over how warm they stay (based on where I put the pots) and how much nutrition/water those plants receive. The plants in the ground are pretty much totally at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Even in the containers, the plants with bite-sized tomatoes ripen earliest in my garden, then the smaller slicers ripen, and then the big beefsteaks types that produce large tomatoes ripen last.

I hope this explanation of the timing here helps you gauge what your plants are doing in relation to when you planted them.

What works for me is to ignore the plants. When I am busy for a few days and not looking at the tomato plants at all, it never fails that I'll walk into the garden and discover oodles of ripe fruit. It never fails. I haven't looked at my in-garden tomato plants in 3 days. I think it likely that when I finally get out to the garden to look at them, I might find some ripe fruit. A watched pot never boils and a watched plant often seems like it refuses to ripen fruit as long as you're watching it like a hawk.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato Timeline

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 3:28PM
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That timeline makes me sad at the end because they didn't pick them when they were ripe.

So if Big Beef and Cherokee Purple are on about the same time schedule, I still have around two weeks to wait on my first big tomato. That CP plant is going crazy, today I counted fourteen green tomatoes on it and it still has lots of flowers.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 7:53PM
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Yesterday I vowed to stop checking all the green tomatoes that were tormenting me by refusing to ripen... and today, I found my first breakers! Husky cherry red wins!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 10:12PM
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Finally this week I picked Juliet, Bush Goliath (large tomato), and SunSugar. Yippee!


    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 10:19PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Julie, The person who took those photos made the choice to sacrifice those tomatoes in the interest of science. I'm fairly sure he gets more tomatoes than he can eat in any given year.

I looked at my Cherokee Purple plants yesterday and have fruit that is very close to the breaker stage. They have a lot of fruit just like yours, but Cherokee Chocolate looks like it will outproduce them although it was later to start setting fruit.

Once your fruit have reached the breaker stage (see the link below) you can pick them and bring them inside to ripen on a countertop or other flat surface out of direct sunlight. They will ripen more quickly, at that point, indoors than outdoors, especially if the high temperatures are already in the 90s. I'd prefer to let them ripen on the vine, but once the weather is hot, there's too many other living creatures (in my garden that includes turtles, birds and caterpillars) that like to eat tomatoes, so I usually harvest before they are fully ripe and let them finish ripening indoors. There's nothing worse than looking at a nice, almost-ripe tomato one day and saying to yourself "I'll harvest that one tomorrow" only to walk outside the next day and find that something ate it overnight.

Mia, Hooray! They'll be ripe before you know it.

Susan, That's terrific. Now is when all your hard work starts paying off and the fun begins!


Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato Color Chart

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 10:14AM
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Thank you for the timeline. Perhaps I should have taken notes all of these years so I wouldn't be so impatient! :)
The day by day photos really helped.
I still do not have any ripe tomatoes, or even any appearing to break color, but I did something else for a couple of days and today a few peppers and strawberries were ready to pick, so I occupied myself well with those.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 3:23AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Brenda, You're welcome. I think the timeline is just an outstanding way for new gardeners to learn how long it could take to get a ripe tomato, and to remind us more-experienced gardeners that a watched pot doesn't boil and a watched tomato doesn't ripen either.

I'm still getting most of the ripening tomatoes from the first plants that went into the containers in February, but all the ones that went into the ground in March have a gazillion greenies that are on the verge of breaking. That's for full-sized tomatoes. We're getting bite-sized from plants that went into the ground in March and have been for some time, but the bite-sized ones mature more quickly than the full-sized ones, so that's to be expected. When the color breaks on the full-sized ones, I'll be canning every week because I am growing more than we can eat and give away. May and June are my favorite harvest months because it is early in the season and we aren't sick of tomatoes yet!


    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 8:21AM
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