Tomatoes Not Ripening - Knowledgebase Question

Hawthorne, NJ
Question by SORA41
November 6, 1997
My tomatoes would only half ripen, one half red, the other green. Inside, they were hard and green. Even the cherries, which turned all red, were not ripe inside.I never saw this happen in 40 years of growing tomatoes,the pepper plants next to them did fine. Any idea why?


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Answer from NGA
November 6, 1997

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There are a few explanations for your problem of half-ripe tomatoes. First of all, some tomato varieties--especially heirloom types--are more susceptible to this problem than others.

During the ripening process, chlorophyll breaks down and the fruit softens and turns red. However, in some varieties, during periods of high temperatures and/or in direct sun exposure, the chlorophyll doesn't break down normally and the exposed side stays hard and green.

You can try picking the tomatoes when they are still quite green, and ripen them indoors out of direct sunlight. Also, try to maintain good foliage cover--the problem will be worse on plants that have been defoliated by disease or insects.

This was a tough year for tomatoes--with the wet, cold spring followed by a hot, dry spell, many gardens got off to a late start. It could be that your cherries just didn't get a chance to fully ripen.

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