User avatar
Francis Barnswallow
Green Thumb
Posts: 696
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:28 pm
Location: Orlando

Picking tomatoes while still green

My fall tomato harvest is being destroyed by caterpillars and squirrels. I'm thinking about picking the remaining green tomatoes....all 3 of them. They are the size of a cue ball. I can't leave them out much longer.

Will they ripen in the house if I pick them? I'm getting desperate now. :cry:

gumbo2176
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3058
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:01 am
Location: New Orleans

Fried green tomatoes is quite good. I've never tried to ripen tomatoes that are real green so I can't tell you if they will ripen or not. I'm thinking it all depends on how close to ripening they are when picked, but I could be wrong.

Too bad about the bugs. I'm bug free this time of year on my tomatoes. Now, my chard and spinach are another story.

User avatar
Francis Barnswallow
Green Thumb
Posts: 696
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:28 pm
Location: Orlando

Anyway I can protect the tomatoes? Like putting them in ziplock bags?

User avatar
Francis Barnswallow
Green Thumb
Posts: 696
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:28 pm
Location: Orlando

I put the 3 tomatoes in ziplock bags with small a triangle cut out of the corner of the bags for drainage. The heat is done for the year and its actually bone dry....and will continue to be for awhile.

Do yall think these caterpillars can chew through the bags?

I'll post what happens.

User avatar
Francis Barnswallow
Green Thumb
Posts: 696
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:28 pm
Location: Orlando

They are fast and vicious. You put your finger anywhere near them and they'll follow it like a cobra does when it's staring something down. Been bit twice by these caterpillars and it stings. Kinda feels like a carpenter ant bite.

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Better feed those vicious worms some BT.

DCon for the squirrels.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

DeborahL
Green Thumb
Posts: 543
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:40 pm
Location: Coastal Southern California

The thought of D-Con makes me sad. The animals die an agonizing death.
God must think highly of animals - He created them before creating us !

User avatar
Francis Barnswallow
Green Thumb
Posts: 696
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:28 pm
Location: Orlando

Update: The ziplock bag idea worked. The 3 tomatoes were picked today (finally started getting a little color to them) and I'm sure they'll ripen in the kitchen. Just gotta empty the dew that builds up in the bags every morning.

Next time around I'm gonna need bigger ziplock bags though, these tomatoes grew bigger than I expected.

I also had a few new tomatoes that started to grow but were chewed through within days. To add insult to injury, the caterpillars left their poop on the hole-ridden tomatoes. :x

User avatar
jal_ut
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7453
Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 pm
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Thanks for the update. Glad the protective bag worked.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:43 pm

DCon for the squirrels.
:shock: James, How could you. :)

Squirrels are just another rat in my book. I'm sure glad the overly rich haven't brought them bleeeeeeps to the island.

Eric

DeborahL
Green Thumb
Posts: 543
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:40 pm
Location: Coastal Southern California

Even so, I'd rather have squirrels shot quickly than D-Conned.
God must think highly of animals - He created them before creating us !

User avatar
PunkRotten
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1989
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:48 pm
Location: Monterey, CA.

What kind of caterpillars are these that bite?

User avatar
Francis Barnswallow
Green Thumb
Posts: 696
Joined: Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:28 pm
Location: Orlando

Can't find a pic online nor do I have a pic of them, so I'll describe them to ya.

They are a slightly brighter green then the tomato leaves. They walk just like an inch worm and are very fast/agile. They have small legs near its head and near its butt. As soon as your hand (or finger) gets near them they follow it with their heads and will bite if your finger gets too close to it. It's like they're defending their (or my) territory. The bite feels like a carpenter ant bite, but it doesn't turn into an itch or anything. They bite the scissors I use to kill them as well.

They have a very faint red line that goes down the entire length of the caterpillar on both sides of their bodies. The largest one I've seen was about 2 inches in length and 1/4 in. thick. Their butt is a more darker red color.

They were the problem this year, no other caterpillar came close to the problem these guys caused me. And now having temps 10-12 degrees above normal with (Jan-March) expected to be hotter and drier than normal, I'm thinking about putting tomatoes on hold this season and concentrate on peppers.

User avatar
PunkRotten
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1989
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:48 pm
Location: Monterey, CA.

Hmmm I don't think I have seen those caterpillars.



Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”