Please ponder on this...
OK, counting on your expertise here. My friend moved to a new house two years ago and wanted to start a garden. She tilled up an area in the backyard, sun all day long, no history of chemicals / cultural practices for the previous lawn, but based on the previous owners, probably not much at all. She had a lot of rotted manure tilled in initially.
Planted her first season garden, Beans, Zucchini, Eggplant, Garlic, Cucumbers and Tomatoes. Weather / rainfall was pretty average for this area. Everything grew very well and she had good production all summer long. The Tomatoes set beautiful big fruit but she didn't get a ripe tomato until October!! Here's the curious thing, these were transplants that I gave her, the same as the ones growing in my garden, and mine had been ripening all summer long.
So this year, she plants the same plot of ground, but didn't add any more manure. She planted the same basic plants as last year, but bought Tomato transplants at our local farmer's market. Incredibly dry this year but watering brought good growth and production on everything. Even the Tomato plants were heavy with fruit set, but not a ripe tomato until October!! Again, I had been picking ripe Tomatoes since August.
Our gardens are about 10 miles apart so no significant climactic differences. Both years, these were big lush plants, seemingly not lacking for nutrients. There may have been too much nitrogen just because of the initial manure application, but how would that affect ripening?
So, there are the facts surrounding the mystery. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.