Senior Member
Posts: 164
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:28 pm
Location: upper michigan

tomatoes not turning red. grrrr

I have a bunch of brandy wine red, celebrity, and a few other slicer tomatoes and I havent gotten any red tomatoes yet, as I remember last year as this is my second year garden, it took all of and up to the frost date for some of my tomatoes to turn red.

I had to pull off like a full garbage bag of green tomatoes off my plants last year before it frosted.

This year is making me wonder why my tomatoes are doing the same thing??

Ive been getting lucky with my cherry tomatoes and getting a bunch of good eaters off them.

I planted my plants around the beginning of june.

Am I doing something wrong here, or do I just need to have patience??

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:42 pm
Location: Wentzville, MO (Just West oF St. Louis) Zone 5B

Upper michigan sounds cold to me. That could be your deal right there. What are your temps like? I'm not big on plastic as a mulch but laying down black plastic could raise the soil temps a bit and maybe help. Brandywines are notrotius for taking their sweet time even in my hot climate. Maybe you need to find some more cold tollerant variety's or something with a short DTM.

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Do you trim the suckers! If you don't and there is more nitrogen in the soil a certain year you will get delayed harvest because the suckers take the strength from the main stems!

Senior Member
Posts: 164
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:28 pm
Location: upper michigan

Yes I have been trimming the suckers.

Our temps have actually been hot this year. Its been in the 80s close to 90 for the highs, and the lows have been in the 60s, usually about 60-65.

So if anything I would say the weather is perfect for tomatoes.

Ive had good luck with cherry tomatoes, but slicer tomatoes, it just seems I'm doing something wrong. ]

What would happen if I over crowd my tomatoes, I will admit I do this, my tomatoes look like a hedge, lol but I do have alot of fruit

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:10 pm
Location: ID/WA! border

Overcrowding may not be allowing the plants enough sunlight.

I never prune my tomatoes unless we are right at the end of the growing season and I decide to remove the branches with only flowers. I may decide not to water them during the final few days also. That will hurry along ripening before 1st frost.

A Brandywine seems really beyond the "reach" of my gardening environment. If everything else is equal -- growing season warmth is what brings about maturity and ripeness. [url=]Here is a link to Weather Service information on Growing Degree Days (click).[/url]

You may see your city or one near you with a comparable climate.

I can tell you that Houghton in Michigan's Upper Peninsula has had about a much growing season warmth as here. I claim that we are in competition with Devil's Lake, North Dakota but I'm sure that folks there aren't aware of it and folks here can't do much about hurrying the tomato crop along :wink: . By the way, we have a lot of catching up to do to catch Devil's Lake this year!

I think there may be a lot of imagination (for want of a better word) that goes into the Days to Maturity concept. I guess, 1700 Growing Degree Days are kind of a general rule of thumb for maturing most tomatoes. The "other things being equal" is a bit of a stretch. For example, I'm fairly sure that the tiny handful of tomatoes that I've harvested so far (none the size of a tennis ball) are from flowers that set fruit while the plants were still in the greenhouse. Once they went into the open garden, they had too cool of temperatures to produce fruit until fairly recently. They should be along but there will just be dribs and drabs of mostly cherries for awhile yet.

The Celebrity looks like it would be a good choice. A standard for me for nearly 20 years has been Big Beef. They are usually listed as a 73 day tomato. You may need to go to a 65 day tomato. There are quite a few.

I once lived at several hundred feet higher elevation. We hadn't yet been given the chance to grow so many varieties that came to us from the former USSR and eastern Europe. About the only tomato that would ripen in my garden was Sub Arctic! Some seed companies list Sub Arctic as a 42 day variety!

Don't give up!


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Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 3:37 pm

I have been growing Brandywine and other varieties of tomatoes. They have been growing great. But they have not turned red. We have had 17 days in a row that the temperature has been over 99 degrees. I have been using the drip mist heavily. I was getting frustrated. I then found out that when tomatoes get fruit you need to back off on the watering. I also saw where using phosphorus will help them ripen. I back off of the watering. I added Phosphorus to a few of the bushes. They are starting to produce red tomatoes. So I am going to add phosphorus to all of them.

These 2 changes seem to have helped. The plants without phosphorus seem to be ripening but not as fast as the ones with it added.

I hope this helps. Let me know as I am not sure this is the total reason for the tomatoes turning red but it seems to have.

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DigitS - that's a good link. Thanks! :D

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Super Green Thumb
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joed - is June really the earliest date you could put tomatoes out in the garden? I start my tomatoes indoors in mid-late Feb and start hardening them off mid April, which is my average last frost date. They aren't in the ground yet at that point and may still come indoors a few times if nights get too cold, but they would definitely be in the ground before May. So then I am eating ripe tomatoes before the end of June. With your season the way it is, you may just need to give your tomatoes an earlier start.

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