The Q&A Archives: Speeding Ripening of Tomatoes

Question: I have wonderfully large and healthy tomato plants of several varieties that are loaded with fruit. They have been growing and the fruit are growing but I have no ripe fruit at all as yet. Is there any way I can stimulate the ripening somehow? We will soon have frost and I would like very much to have some vine ripened for fresh eating.
We have had terribly dry weather this summer and the temperatures have been higher than normal particularly at night. Can this affect the ripening of the fruit...if we harvest all the tomatoes we will have quite a supply and I am sure that eventually some will come but it would be so nice to have so soon. Can you help me? By the way I am not alone in this. I do know the age of the plants as I started them all from seed and the maturity date is gone some time now.

Answer: The dry weather and high night-time temps could have affected pollination in the spring and early summer, so that the fruit you seen now began developing later in the summer than usual.

Here are a few tricks to help push those green tomatoes along! Remove a portion of the foliage. Don't remove too much, or you'll risk sunscald, but thin the plants to allow sun to penetrate and warm the fruit. Prune actively growing suckers and shoots, to direct energy toward the fruit. Root prune, by sinking a shovel into the ground in a circle around the plant, about a foot from the stem. By disturbing the roots in this way, you can sometimes stress the plants into ripening their fruit.

Bring any partially ripened fruit indoors and place in a warm spot to hasten ripening.

Good luck!

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