Plant dying but lots of green tomatoes

lovinliOctober 2, 2012

Hi, it's my first time planting a single beefsteak tomato plant. It did beautifully all summer, grew huge with many fruits (about 30). The fruit blossomed and ripened very slowly and we've only picked about 4 to date. Now the plant is starting to die. I don't think it is blight, but maybe septoria (leaves are spotty, turn yellow then dry up). Since it's fall, not sure it will help to treat it with fungicide at this point. My question is there are still about 25 healthy green tomatos on the vines, some small, some large -- what should I do? Should I let them keep ripining until I see the individual vine turn yellow? Or, should I start picking them and let them ripen inside? If I leave them on the vine much longer, will I risk losing them all? Will try to post some pics later.

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

First, look at the thread below with a title of green tomatoes won't ripen inside the house, for some more info.

No, it's too late to use a fungicide and yes, many of us have plants that have either Septoria or Early Blight, or both, or any combo of those and throw in some of the bacterial foliage diseases as well.

Starting tomorrow the weather is supposed to warm up for a few days in our area, and as long as there are no deep freezes expected I'd leave those green ones on the vine, b'c if you can get them to blush a bit it will easier to harvest them and take them inside to ripen up.

But please do read the thread I referred you to above.

Hope that helps.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 2:54PM
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Thanks Carolyn, I went out today and cut away most of the dying leaves. There are so few healthy leaves left that I'm worried the sun will scorch the tomatoes. I did read your advice about trying to ripen green tomatoes. I hope I don't have to pick them but the stems are starting to rot away, so I may have no choice! I'll give it a few more days and see what happens.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 7:23PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

The angle and intensity of the sun this time of year where we live is not going to cause sunscald.

But I'm wondering what that rotting at the stem end might be unless it's radial or concentric splitting which is normal for some varieties. Usually the splits scar over but lots of rain can reopen those splits and then normal fungi and bacteria in the air can invade and cause rot.

What is the variety name of the beefstak plant you're growing?


    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 7:49PM
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Let me share a southern secret to sucessful fall harvesting. Bacon greese + skillet + fine ground corn meal + green tomato = no need to try to ripen them.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 11:58AM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Pickle them! I had a bunch of green sweet 100's,and was tired of eating, and giving away the ripe ones. I pickled them whole and they are great.

I shared with my coworkers and friends, a mistake! LOL I had 30 pints and now I have none.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 2:41PM
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As Carolyn suggested, the rotting stems might indicate that you should bring them in. You might get frost on Friday night also. You could let the larger ones ripen on the counter top. Otherwise, you could have fried green tomatoes or pickles or make them into a relish.
John A

    Bookmark   October 10, 2012 at 2:19PM
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