The Q&A Archives: Tomato Question

Question: My tomato plants are healthy and vigorous and loaded with fruit. But its the beginning of September (in Seattle) and they are not ripening very fast. I have yet to get a red tomato. I moved the tomato patch this year to a spot that does not get much afternoon sun. Bad move. Anything I can do to hasten the ripening process.

Answer: Because we have such a short summer around here, it's important to be able to tell which tomatoes have the best chance of ripening if we have to harvest early because of impending frost. Look for tomatoes with dark green shoulders. This 'star' near the stem and extending down the shoulders usually indicates the fruit is mature enough to turn red after it's been picked. If your tomatoes have the dark green coloration, they'll probably turn red whether you leave them on the vine or harvest and bring them indoors. You can help them ripen by placing them in a paper bag with a ripe apple. Choose a sunnier spot next year and you won't have to play the guessing game!

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