Real Men Sow

5 Tips for Ripening Tomatoes

tomato (2)

Recently, I blogged and tweeted about stubborn refusal of my tomatoes to ripen. This has been one of the most frustrating aspects of a disappointing year on the plot.

For me, the tomato harvest is one of the best crops in any given allotment summer and to miss out on the delicious, juicy fruits is a real downer.

However, lots of help was at hand. I had a number of excellent sounding tips left in the comments section of my post, all of which had worked for the authors. I’m going to try these myself, in a last ditch attempt to get at least a few toms for the kitchen.

Here’s a summary of the tips below. A big thanks to all who answered my plea for help!

Windowsills and Greenhouses (M from –
Yes, I have got this problem too. I put a few of them in a cheap plastic greenhouse from Wilko. They started ripening almost immediately it seemed. But it’s too small for the main plants. SO I’m just leaving them there and if it gets too cold, I’ll just cut them off and leave them on the window. By the way, this method has *never* failed me.

Have you got any old plastic e.g. bubble wrap? You can wrap that around them to hold in more warmth and humidity. Also feed them twice a week with a seaweed-based liquid feed (you mix a capful of it into about 5L of water)

Pull up the plant and hang upside down (Matt –
Before now I’ve successfully ripened tomatoes at the end of the season by pulling up the whole plant and hanging it upside down from the rafters in the garage. You do end up with a few toms squished on the floor though!

Put your toms in a dark place (Joe)
I read that placing them in the dark eg place them in a drawer. I was sceptical but tried it last year and amazingly it worked a treat.

Trim back the leaves (Felicity –
My mother swears by trimming back almost all of the leaves off the plant, and I did not believe her, until she did it to my unripening tomato plants last year. It worked a treat. She stripped them bare, except for one or two stalks of leaves and within a few days they were ripening.

Felicity – this is what my mum told me to do!

Hold back the watering (Liz)
This has happened to me before. I held back on the watering and that seemed to spur them ton to ripen, but I do like the comment about taking off the leaves, and I would try that for sure.


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  1. MattAugust 25, 2014 at 1:25 pmReply

    I think my suggestion is definitely a last resort! I’m going to try trimming back the leaves on mine this year, since it comes recommended by both your mum and Felicity :)

  2. elaineAugust 27, 2014 at 6:21 amReply

    My tomatoes have nearly all ripened now – just a few really large Cuor di Bue left – I have tried the banana trick before but all it did was to invite wasps into the greenhouse.

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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