Vegetables and Fruit forum: Fall Tomato Question

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Name: Jo-Ann
Zone 9a, New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a)
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JoAnn
Nov 25, 2011 7:52 AM CST
Here in New Orleans, we can get a bumper crop of fall tomatoes if we plant around August-September. This year because of illness, I didn't get my tomatoes planted until October, which really is kind of late. Right now, I have lots of tomatoes waiting to get ripe. December 11 is supposedly our first frost date. Sometimes we have temps down to the low 30s in December, sometimes not until January.

In order to hurry my tomatoes along, would it be helpful to prune off the smaller tomatoes. Would that help the larger ones ripen faster? Is there anything else I can do to get at least some of them to ripen faster?
Jo-Ann - Gardening in New Orleans
Name: Cora
Alpharetta/Jonh's Creek, Ga. (Zone 7b)
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CoraBarner
Nov 28, 2011 10:21 AM CST
Sorry, I have no help on your question but all I can say that "You are lucky and I am envious of you having tomatoes these time of the year. We love tomatoes.
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Nov 28, 2011 4:24 PM CST
Joann, in your situation you'd be better off pruning the roots of the plants, and that is is you have some fruit that is nearly as large as its gonna get, nearly full size. This will shock the plant into going into the ripening stage but yet won't kill it.

The smaller fruit will also begin to ripen so you'll get small ripe tomatoes but that is better than none at all, eh?

Normally the first frost is not a hard one so you could also cover your plants with a row cover keeping the frost from nipping the leaves. Oftentimes the first frost will be followed by another period of time of warmer weather so if that is the case that will give you even more time to get some goodies off those plants.

Hope this is helpful.
Happy Gardening...
Shoe

Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Nov 28, 2011 5:45 PM CST
Ever faithful with good advice! Thank you ~ Shoe.

I am in the same dilemma with large "evergreen" tomatoes. At least they seem evergreen.
I have covered the past two nights with frost cloth and had a little foliage wilt.
If a really hard freeze is pending, I will pick tomatoes regardless of size and let them ripen off the vine.
Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
And in the end...a happy beginning!
Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Garden Sages I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
For our friend, Shoe. Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Enjoys or suffers cold winters Birds Permaculture Container Gardener
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Horseshoe
Nov 28, 2011 6:02 PM CST
Howdy, Pod...always good to hear how your gardening is doing in Texas.

I know what you're feeling, sure hate to lose those tomatoes to the weather!

If you see any blush color showing on the blossom end you can always pick them and they should ripen up indoors; they'll ripen slowly but consider it an "extended harvest"! :>)

What doesn't ripen to red I'm sure you know how to make fried green tomatoes!
Best to you and yours,
Shoe
[Last edited by Horseshoe - Dec 15, 2011 2:31 PM (+)]
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Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Nov 28, 2011 7:53 PM CST
Oddly, I've never eaten fried, green... tomatoes. I would sample some if they were made by someone who knew how to cook them. I'm not it.

Never have been one to refuse to eat something different. Since introduced to east Texas, I've learned to love AllThingsOkra, all peas and beans know to east Texas man, crawdads, frog legs, raccoon, goat. Lots of things I'd never dreamed of and they are wonderful so am certain the green tomatoes would be more than edible.

My dear Mom would pick green ones in the fall and we'd wrap them in newspaper and store in the fruit cellar. When she wanted ripe ones, we'd bring a few up and set them on a warm windowsill to ripen. They may not have been as good as summer maters but were outstanding in Minnesota in November and December. lol
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Nov 28, 2011 7:54 PM CST
CoraBarner said:Sorry, I have no help on your question but all I can say that "You are lucky and I am envious of you having tomatoes these time of the year. We love tomatoes.


My dear, I don't know what zone you are in but you should try a late season crop. You never know, you might gamble and win!
Name: Jo-Ann
Zone 9a, New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member
JoAnn
Nov 29, 2011 7:43 AM CST
Thanks for all your answers. So far, our lowest temp has been 40. A light freeze was predicted for last night, but we didn't get it. Although the temps are supposed to be up in the 70's by the end of the week.

The toms are still at it: growing like crazy. On 6 plants, there are around 80 tomatoes. I'm going to give root pruning a try on some of them & see if that helps. I did prune off all the small ones - below quarter size, and all the blossoms. Anything full size will get picked for ripening inside.
Jo-Ann - Gardening in New Orleans
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
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Gymgirl
Dec 1, 2011 1:31 PM CST
I'm from NOLA! Whereabouts are you in the city?
Name: Jo-Ann
Zone 9a, New Orleans, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member
JoAnn
Dec 3, 2011 8:49 AM CST
Gymgirl said:I'm from NOLA! Whereabouts are you in the city?


I'm in the Gentilly area. In my block, I'm the only one who has a veggie garden and I also have chickens!! Most of my neighbors think I'm nuts, but they're always ready to get extra veggie or eggs.

I'm in the process of buying the lot next door to mine through a Katrina-related program that sells blighted homes to the person next door. Then I can really have a large garden.

Jo-Ann - Gardening in New Orleans
Name: Cora
Alpharetta/Jonh's Creek, Ga. (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Dog Lover
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CoraBarner
Dec 8, 2011 5:03 AM CST
pod said:

My dear, I don't know what zone you are in but you should try a late season crop. You never know, you might gamble and win!


I'm in zone7b, I have an electrician instal power into my greenhouse so I can start seeds early in spring.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Level 2
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pod
Dec 8, 2011 5:56 AM CST
Good for you! You will enjoy it. This is the first winter I am growing tomatoes in my GH. It is just currant tomatoes but are loaded with blooms and green fruits.

I always start my seeds outdoors by wintersowing in milk jug type containers. It makes it ever so easy.
I find the GH dries plants out too quickly and seedlings need constant dampness which is more effort than I have time to devote.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Dec 15, 2011 10:58 AM CST
We do not have tomatoes this late,but I learned something here!
I did not know that you could prune the roots to encourage ripening.
Thanks for that tip.
Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
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Bubbles
Dec 15, 2011 11:05 AM CST
I'm also learning about root pruning. So I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks, huh?

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