how long do tomatos take to ripen? - Knowledgebase Question

Chula Vista, CA
Question by pamchris
August 6, 2007
I have 6 celebrity tomato plants that are 2 feet tall, very leggy with about 6 fruits each. They are in 14 inch pots and are staked halfway up. The fruit has been green for about 4 weeks. When will it ripen? The plants recieve sunshine from 1pm to 6pm. I can move them to a location where they will get direct sunshine all day. Some of the fruit developed brown spots on the bottom and had to be thrown away. How long does the fruit stay green?
Should I move them to all day sun? How long will they bear fruit for and will the plants die afterward?

Thank You


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Answer from NGA
August 6, 2007

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Tomato plants, like any plant that produces fruit, need at least seven hours of direct sun. If you have less, you will have fantastic foliage but very few fruit. Fruit production takes a tremendous amount of energy, and tomato plants, like all plants, get that energy from the sun. If you can move your plants to a sunnier site, the fruit should ripen quickly.

The problem you describe with brown spots on the bottom of the fruit is called blossom end rot. It is common, and is related to inconsistent soil moisture. Keep the plants well watered - When the soil around tomato plants dries out, a serious problem results. Calcium, one of the handful of minerals needed by all plants to grow, is absorbed by the plant's roots along with water. If water is limited, so is calcium. The result is blossom-end rot, a brown, dry, leathery spot found on the bottom of fruit. So make sure your soils don't dry out and use mulch to help conserve moisture.

Celebrity is a determinate variety. It will grow to a maximum size, set fruit and then stop producing. Indeterminate tomato types will continue to grow and set fruit until frost arrives.

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