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will picking green tomatoes encourage the others to ripen?

Posted by tater1112 z4 MN (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 15, 09 at 10:32

My tomato plants have several large fruits that are starting to ripen, and several smaller ones. Usually when frost comes I pick all the green tomatoes and let them ripen inside - not as tasty as vine-ripened, but a heck of a lot better than grocery store tomatoes!

This year I wondered if picking the smaller green tomatoes now will encourage the larger ones to ripen faster. I'm talking about the ones that wouldn't be much if I picked them green and brought them inside.

Opinions? Experiences?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: will picking green tomatoes encourage the others to ripen?

that really wont help

if you want to get fruit to ripen a little faster and you know you are "done" for the season, stress the plant.

you can do so by cutting about 2/3-3/4 of the roots. With a shovel go out about 12-18" from the base of the plant and make cuts around the base about 2/3 or 3/4 around it.


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RE: will picking green tomatoes encourage the others to ripen?

I take liter sized clear pop bottles, "plastic", and put a tea bag and water in them and put the cap back on.
then I set them by the tomato plants. The tea water acts as a sort of hot water bottle to give the vines a bit more heat in the late season and help them stay warm. That is if you're getting cold now. Keeping the ripe ones picked will also help a bit.


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RE: will picking green tomatoes encourage the others to ripen?

i heard put something red in color by them. the tomato thinks its competing, and ripens quicker.


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RE: will picking green tomatoes encourage the others to ripen?

  • Posted by sunnyk Z6 SW Coastal CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 15, 09 at 20:01

I take liter sized clear pop bottles, "plastic", and put a tea bag and water in them and put the cap back on.
then I set them by the tomato plants. The tea water acts as a sort of hot water bottle to give the vines a bit more heat in the late season and help them stay warm. That is if you're getting cold now. Keeping the ripe ones picked will also help a bit.

Ok...maybe this is a totally moron question that everyone knows the answer too....but what is the teabag for?


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RE: will picking green tomatoes encourage the others to ripen?

The tea makes the water darker,, thus warms more from the sun and come winter you have a refrshing beverage


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RE: will picking green tomatoes encourage the others to ripen?

As already mentioned stressing works, I had a plant die from sunscald after I removed some mammoth grey stripes in front of it. I cut the roots, and got the toms to blush in a week before ripping the plant out. Of course the sunscald might have been enough stress.

I'd say definitely pick any smaller toms, the plant can put more energy into the ones that are bigger, and prune any new blossoms if they come along.


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RE: will picking green tomatoes encourage the others to ripen?

The teabag releases a pigment into the water, and the darker water warms up when the solar radiation strikes it.
It makes the heat sink more solar efficient. The water will still absorb heat w/o the tea bag, but not so well.
Tried coffee as well, but the coffee pigment bleaches out pretty soon in the sun, while the tea pigment lasts.
The water also works to modify daytime heat waves by absorbing some excessive heat, but that is seldom a problem along the Puget Sound.


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RE: will picking green tomatoes encourage the others to ripen?

I would think if the smaller ones are higher up on the plant, and your season is short, and they may not amount to much by first frost, then YES, removing them may devote more energy to the lower, larger fruits.

Topping the plant and removing any suckers should also divert more energy to existing fruits instead of new growth.

Hope this helps.


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