Tomatoe Ripening Question : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

My tomatoes have done very well this year but are still very green. I know that you can pick them and place them in a dark space and they will ripen but does any one know of a way to speed up the ripening on the vine. I heard someone say once that if you take all the leaves off it will make the plant ripen its fruit faster. Does any one have any experience with this? All help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

-- Tim Jaeger (, September 07, 2000


I don't know what will make them ripen faster, but if you take the leaves off, they'll get sunscald. And with that you lose at least part of the tomato.

-- Cindy (, September 07, 2000.

If you cut the suckers off (the limbs with no tomatos) then all the energy goes to the rest of the plant. I have a friend who pulls her whole plant (when freezing is an issue) and hangs them upside down in the barn and they ripen the rest of the way. Also another gal, picks her tomatos green, wraps each one in newspaper and stores them in a cool dark spot while they ripen. Also, try putting a tepee over the plant thru the day (on the cooler days), leaving plenty of ventilation. Just a few suggestions.

-- Pat (, September 07, 2000.

I planted my tomatoes about a month behind time this year because we were building our greenhouse so I have 60 plus tomato plants that have a lot of nice size green tomatoes on them. But they haven't started to turn red yet. But what I am planning to do, and I have already bought it, is to cover the row of plants with Remay crop cover at the first prediction of frost which will probably be October 1 for us here in Virginia. Remay is that spun fiber sheets that let in the air, sun and rain but keep the temperature about ten degrees warmer under it than the outside air. I will leave these covers on the plants until I finally pull up the plants for the year. I am hoping that it will allow me the extra time to get them to ripen. I bought the sheets at Lowe's for $6.00 per each 12' by 15' sheet. I bought four of them and this should be enough to cover all of my tomatoes. I already used one to cover my egg plant to keep off the flea beetles and it worked well. I have removed the cover from them now and am allowing the pollination to take place. I have baby egg plants on them so I will cover them back up again if frost is threatened. The good part about this Remay is that you don't have to take it off to let in rain or sun like you would blankets or newspapers and you don't have to take it off if it gets to hot like you would for clear plastic. So, in theory, this should work but it is just an experiment for me. I'll let you all know how it turns out.

-- Colleen (, September 07, 2000.

In my area the first frost is around the first of September. (Had two light ones already)The first part of August I trim off excess foliage, leaving just enough to prevent sunscald and cut off all the blossoms on my plants to encourage the green tomatoes to ripen instead of making more fruit. I too cover with Remay to provide heat when the nights are cool and to protect from the first frosts. When a hard frost is near, I pick the rest of the green tomatoes and bring them inside to finish.

-- Marci (, September 07, 2000.

If you have your tomatoes caged or staked (not sprawling) you can wrap a thick plastic sheet around the whole lot of them. Staple the two end pieces together, and hold to the tops of cages with clothespins. If it gets hot again, remove clothespins and roll plastic down most of the way....kind of like a big pair of pants you can pull up and down as you need. J.

-- J (, September 07, 2000.

Stripping the leaves will indeed make the plants ripen fruit in a hurry. The tomato responds to the stress by trying to ripen enough fruit to produce viable seed to keep the family going. At this time of year, in Maine, sunscald is not a worry. If you are approaching frost, it shouldn't bother your plants either. If 1st frost is weeks away, get a good book. You have no worry, just need patience! GL!

-- Brad (, September 08, 2000.

It's heat that ripens tomatoes. Stripping off some of the leaves helps, throws the plant's resources into the fruit. I would suggest tenting the plants with plastic (with proper ventilation of course).

I've also been told that the best way (tastewise) to ripen tomatoes in the fall is to pull up the whole vine and hang it upside down inside the house.

-- Chelsea B (, September 13, 2000.

I've heard that placing them in a paperbag works well too,,, have not tried this yet. Just wanted to pass on this tip that i got from a old gardening book that works for me successfully to make more plants for the following year. I pinch off the leaves at the stem junction. Then i plant them in dirt and place in the window or sunny area. they grow all winter and by spring I have a lot of tomato plants to plant. Hope this helps.


-- Bernice (, September 13, 2000.

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