Gardening Magazine

End of Season Ripening of Tomatoes

By Steve Bichard @SteveBichard

Near to the end of the summer, tomato growers are wondering how to get the remaining trusses to ripen. This seems to be a bit of a problem this year in the UK in some areas, as I have seen a lot of posts about it on Gardener’s World Facebook page. 

TOMATOES WILL RIPEN WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT - Do not panic if it is still quite warm as the tomatoes will ripen when they are ready and not always when you expect them to. 

End of Season Ripening of Tomatoes

REMOVE THE GROWING HEAD - This is one of the main jobs at the end of the season. Nip out the head of the tomato plant, leaving a few leaves at least after the last truss. You can choose a truss a few trusses down from the last one to leave more leaves. 

REMOVE LEAVES - One of the first things to do is always remove leaves to just above where the fruit is ripening. If you are not too bothered about the higher trusses ripening, then remove leaves further up as well. This lets more sun hit  the tomatoes to ripen them. 

End of Season Ripening of Tomatoes

HANG A BANANA SKIN - A very old adage to ripen tomatoes and fruit is to hang a banana or a banana skin close to the trusses. Bananasmake other fruit ripen because they release a gas called ethane (formerly ethylene). If tomatoes are off the plant, then place the tomatoes in a bowl or a breathable bag with a banana to ripen the fruit. 

WATER LESS - If you have removed the head of the plant and also keep removing shoots, you will need to cut down on your watering or you will get split fruit otherwise. 





VENTILATE LESS - You have to be careful with this option, as you do not want to encourage diseases, so never stop ventilation altogether at this time of the year. However, if you have a little less ventilation to warm up the poly-tunnel or greenhouse a little bit more especially at night, it will aid ripening the tomatoes.

PLACE TOMATOES ON A WINDOW CILL - By lining up tomatoes in a warm window cill is another way to ripen tomatoes faster.

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