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Tomatos and cold weather

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Beetle-Kill, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    First year I've tried tomatos, and I have plenty at this point. Problem is, they're all green and I should get snow in the next 3-4 weeks.
    Types are cherry and big (steak tomatos?), I just grabbed a few packs of seeds this spring and didn't really care too much what they were. I have 11 in the ground and 10 in pots, all producing.
    Weather is getting cooler (40's at night) so what should I expect?
    Thanks, JB

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  2. ROVERT

    ROVERT Member

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    Fried green tomatoes?

    From my limited tomato growing experience seeds need to be started early. We start ours inside around February. If we were to start them in the ground after last frost, I don't know that we'd get any before the first frost comes. I imagine you growing season is shorter than ours here in PA. One year we planted a little late and ended up with a bunch of green tomatoes in late sept/ early oct. We tried a few fried green tomatoes but my wife made a green tomato relish with most of them that was really good.

    Would it be possible to tent them the extend the growing season a little? We did that this spring so we could get them out of the house and into the ground earlier. It worked well. I don't know how well it would work at the end of the season.

    I'm sure there are more seasoned gardeners on here that can offer you better advice. Good luck.
    smokinj likes this.
  3. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I was thinking tenting them with plastic at night might help extend the growing season . . . and if they at least start to orange up you can always pick them and let them finish ripening on your windowsill inside the home.
  4. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Beetle-Kill,

    Plastic will help extend the season a bit, but it will have to be able to withstand more than just the chill. Snow could be problematic if you can't get it supported well enough.

    We actually will pick a lot of our tomatoes green and make a couple of different relishes and green tomato mincemeat. Back a bit we had a major outbreak of late blight, it was the fact that we could use green tomatoes that salvaged the garden that year.

    Tomatoes need all the help they can get. There are too many things that can get in the way.
    pen likes this.
  5. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Big table in full sun. Start picking some of the biggest ones and set them on the table. I use a white top. (This year I have not had to do it yet) But as we get in to Sept I might have to.
  6. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Tomatoes like warm, and it sounds like that is in short supply. You could table ripen or find a way to keep the plants warm. They will start to shut down when you get in the mid-low 40's.
  7. backpack09

    backpack09 Minister of Fire

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    An old lady on youtube once told me to pull your tomatoe PLANTS near the end of the season and hang them upside down in the basement to help get your leftover green ones to ripen.
  8. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Concur with above.

    Don't let tomatos get below 50::F. Set up some low tunnells.

    The ones in pots . . . put the pots on pallets, then bring the whole pallet inside garage in the evening.

    The sun doesn't ripen tomatos.

    Hanging the plants upside down is a good idea. If you pick them, lay them single layer on a table in the garage and cover with newspaper. Trapping the gas helps them rippen. But you MUST check them every day, because rot/fungus will spread, and you'll lose the whole crop.

    Next year start them inside. But you MUST have good lights for tomatos.
  9. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the replies. I should be able to tent the ones in the ground fairly easily. I have some thai hot peppers close to them that are doing good, so I could tent the whole bunch. I can bring in the potted ones at night.
    next year I'll start earlier, half of the plants are still flowered out.
  10. Dtunes

    Dtunes New Member

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    Outside of Boston MA
    My father used to have luck making framed tents with plastic sheeting and strapping. Then paint a bunch of 1 gallon milk jugs black, fill with water, and place around the plants. Remove the tents during the day, sun will warm the water and put the tents back when the sun is going down. As it gets colder, stop removing the tent. He was able to extend plants pretty far. Don't expect miracles, but it helps a lot.

    My buddies Sicilian father, picks them green at the end of the season. Stores them in a cardboard box in his downstairs fridge and they last a long time. When you want them to ripen, put them in a paper bag with a few apples or pears and leave on the counter(or other warmish spot). The ethylene gas from the apples/pears will ripen the tomatoes.
  11. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    We totally strip our vines at the end of the season and let the ones that changed to no longer being dark green ripen in a kitchen drawer or other dark enclosed place. Checking them regularly.

    The others get ground or sliced up as part of relishes, piccalillis, or mincemeat (have to fill them jars somehow). We only have 68 pint jars unfilled at this time, perhaps 30 quart jars, and 16 half pints.

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