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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:09 am 
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Joined: Jul 2 '09
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Location: redding, ca
This is my first year doing this and my 4 tomato plants are loaded with tomatoes, but the are taking forever to ripen. I swear they have been growing pretty big and staying green for almost 5 weeks now. Is this normal? They are pink brandy wine and the big boys. I also have a few cherry tomato plants that are doing pretty well. I have plucked 2 batches of tomatoes from them.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:55 pm 
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Joined: Mar 19 '09
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Location: Lake Jackson, TX
Happened to me too, I picked them and placed them on the counter between 2 sheets of newspaper. Ripened nicely...

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:21 pm 
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Joined: May 29 '09
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Location: Saint Paul, MN (Zone 4a)
Wait, now I'm confused. You're saying that tomatoes *aren't* supposed to take 6 weeks to ripen?

Because mine are doing the exact same thing. The biggest ones are still growing, here and there, but there's not a hint of any color except that light green. Which is pretty, but I've been waiting for a red tomato for a month now . . . well, maybe 3 weeks. And they're clearly not going to start getting red any time soon.

How long is it supposed to take a tomato to grow and ripen on the vine? And is the time wildly different for the different varieties?

Inquiring minds want to know!


Sybil V.


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 Post subject: time to ripen tomatoes
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Feb 15 '09
Posts: 17781
Location: Ohio, USA zone 6
6 weeks does seem long. I'm away on vacation now (and dying to know what's happening to my garden back home), but I picked 3 ripe tomatoes before I left. That was about 7 weeks after I planted the tomato plants out in the garden (from being started from seed indoors), but they didn't have any tomatoes or even flowers on them when I planted them.

It depends on the variety and on the weather. Ideal fruiting weather is warm and sunny but not too hot. If your plants are big enough, you can encourage them to focus on developing and ripening fruit instead of keeping on growing more plant, by pinching out the growing tips.

Be sure you are not giving them nitrogen fertilizer at this point-- that encourages it to grow lots of plant and leaves, not fruit.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:50 pm 
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Joined: Jul 2 '09
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Location: redding, ca
Thanks for the info guys!

Last night I tied the branches up with twine because my plants have completely over grown the cages around them. I was thinking maybe they were shading them self's to much. Today the tomatoes are doing soo much better! I would say half of them are turning colors fast! I'm so excited now!

thanks again guys...

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 5:04 pm 
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Joined: Apr 2 '09
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Location: Eureka, CA
Mine are also taking a million years to ripen (maybe it just feels like that).

I'm assuming it's because they don't quite get enough sun, and FarNorCalGrl's experience would seem to bear that out, but then why is it that they'll ripen in the dark if you pick them? Do they need sun or not?


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:33 am 
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Joined: May 29 '09
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Location: Saint Paul, MN (Zone 4a)
I discovered that I can encourage mine to get on with it by pruning. I must have gotten rid of 3 dozen more tiny about-to-be blossom clusters, and I got rid of a ton of new growth popping up in the V that forms between two established stems. I also got rid of the old leaves that were hanging around on the dirt at the bottom of the plant. I must have cleared 3-4" worth of bottom leaves. I figured, they weren't getting any sun and they certainly weren't making tomatoes, so the plant didn't need them.

Seems to be working. 48 hours after the initial prune, and 24 hours after the 'Let's see what I missed' prune, my very first tomatoes have turned a dark green and I expect them to start showing red any day now.

If nothing else, try pruning! Worked for me.


Sybil Vimes (who has plenty of tomatoes already, and really didn't need a gazillion more)


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 Post subject: pruning
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:32 am 
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Location: Ohio, USA zone 6
I always pinch out all the suckers that start in the branch joins. You will read different things about this, some people swear by it and some people think it doesn't make a difference. But I think it helps the plant focus on making fruit instead of more stems.

Pruning off the bottom leaves that could touch the dirt is less controversial. If you leave those, it can be a path for soil borne diseases. Once your plant is getting big, usually the bottom 8-12" would be just stem.

That said, Sylvia's pruning seems a little dramatic. Will indeed focus the plant on the current fruit getting bigger and riper, but at the sacrifice of a lot of future fruit. But it all depends on what you are looking for


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:30 pm 
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Joined: May 29 '09
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Location: Saint Paul, MN (Zone 4a)
Sylvia? Did you mean me? Yeah, it might seem dramatic, but where I live, we can have frost as early as late August (rare, but it does happen) so I figured, at the current growth rate, I'd better concentrate on the tomatoes I already have, most of which are somewhere between pea and marble size right now! It does me no good to have green ping-pong ball sized tomatoes on the vine in September, which is where my plant was heading.

Don't worry, this plant is quite definitely 'vigorous' and 'productive' and I expect to have more blossoms in a few weeks, to replace the ones that I pinched off!

It's taking longer than I expected for my tomatoes to ripen. A lot longer. Anything I can do to speed up the process is a good thing.

Sybil


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