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tomatoes not ripening/ripening slowly

Posted by kawaiineko_gardener 5a (jesusbeloved29@yahoo.com) on
Fri, Jul 29, 11 at 17:46

I had this problem last year too; however last year I grew two roma tomato plants from seed.

By the time they started to blossom and set fruit, it was September; since my growing season is so short, it was too late for them to ripen and mature.


I figured out why people use transplants where I live.
I used transplants for my tomatoes, and set them out May 30th. However despite using transplants I'm still having this problem occur again this year.

The three varieties I have are cherry, roma, and slicers; the cherry take about 60 days to ripen, the Romas about 70-80 days, and the slicers about 80 days.

The cherries have set fruit, but they're immature and green; some are hard, tiny, and a dull green color, and others are larger, softer, and have a shinier green.

The romas have just started to set fruit, but they're nowhere close to ripening.

I know with some veggies, that if temperature extremes occur (too hot, too cold, or just a general fluctuation in temperatures) this stresses the plant out and reduces yields, or slows maturity time. I also know with some veggies that if it gets too hot, that this will interfere with fruit ripening. Do these rules apply to tomatoes too?

If you overcrowd the containers (put too many plants in too small of a container) then will this cause tomatoes not to ripen, or delay ripening? I have three romas in a 30 gallon container, 3 cherries in 30 gallon container, and 4 slicers in a 30 gallon container.

I'm just wondering why this keeps happening and what to do about it, I don't know why this keeps happening, nor do I know what to do to remedy it because I don't know what's causing the problem. Until recently it's been in the mid to high 80's, and mid to high 90's. So I'm wondering if the reason the fruit isn't ripening is because it's been too hot and dry? There has been very little rain.

I water the plants every evening, but I'm wondering if I should water during the day so the soil is kept moist during the hottest part of the day?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: tomatoes not ripening/ripening slowly

High temperatures effect the chemicals involved in ripening. It tends to be the cumulative or diurnal temperature over a 24 hour cycle which will be the issue. "Diurnal Temperature Variation is the change in temperature between the warmest and coolest parts of the day." The link provides a way to look up DTV for your area. I only bring this up as a way to pointing out - its been HOT over most of the US for the past week or more. For the most part just going to have to wait till the weather changes.

I am not sure about crowding effecting ripening. I don't seem to recall anything specific about that issue. Generally though 10 gallons is pretty good for each plant.

Keeping the pot/container cooler, and thus the roots, may help the plants some. Dark colored pots are going to absorb more heat so shading them with something to reflect the light (like aluminum foil) and regularly watering them during the hottest part of the day should lower root temperatures some. That helps chemicals and enzymes produced in the roots stay stable but probably won't do much for those produced elsewhere.

Additionally if you could shade the plants slightly that could help. That has been shown to make a big difference in pepper set. You need to keep airflow up though if you do use a covering. Otherwise you could start seeing disease issues.


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RE: tomatoes not ripening/ripening slowly

  • Posted by bets z5A ID (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 29, 11 at 18:29

Hello kawaiineko,

To me it sounds like your tomaotes are right on schedule, considering the unusual weather this year. I'm also in zone 5a and I don't expect to see any ripe tomatoes until mid-August or later. We had such a cold wet spring that I set out my first plants in the middle of June, and even then they tended to sulk and hardly even grew until it warmed up. Which it did with a vengeance!

Days to Maturity (DTM) is a guideline or average for comparing various varietes ripening times from transplanting into the garden. If it were a hard and fast rule, you would just now start seeing ripe cherry tomatoes, and your other tomatoes would ripen 10-20 days later.

"I know with some veggies, that if temperature extremes occur (too hot, too cold, or just a general fluctuation in temperatures) this stresses the plant out and reduces yields, or slows maturity time. I also know with some veggies that if it gets too hot, that this will interfere with fruit ripening. Do these rules apply to tomatoes too?" - Yes, it pretty much does.

"If you overcrowd the containers (put too many plants in too small of a container) then will this cause tomatoes not to ripen, or delay ripening? I have three romas in a 30 gallon container, 3 cherries in 30 gallon container, and 4 slicers in a 30 gallon container." - Here I'll say maybe. I don't think your plants are over crowded since a 10 gallon container is usually considered ample for a single tomato plant, but you may be pushing it a little with 4 slicers in one 30 gallon container.

"I water the plants every evening, but I'm wondering if I should water during the day so the soil is kept moist during the hottest part of the day?" Check the soil moisture about 3-5 inches below the surface and about the same from the edge of the container, is it too wet, damp or dry? If it is wet, don't water, if damp, check again later in the day or the next morning, if it is dry water it. It really isn't unusual to have to water container plants more than once a day when the weather is hot. Larger containers will not need watering as often.

I sure hope that helps.

Betsy


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RE: tomatoes not ripening/ripening slowly

My cherries are slow to ripen too so far. I have picked and ate some (a dozen or so) but have LOTS still green and some others slowly turning.


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RE: tomatoes not ripening/ripening slowly

Me too tommy. I have tons and tons lol of black cherry tomatoes all nice looking and green but not ripening yet. I think I have pulled off to eat maybe a dozen or so. But boy will I have a lot when they all do ripen! Yum!


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