my tomatoes aren't ripening

Help! My Tomatoes Aren’t Ripening!

My tomatoes are causing me concern.

I’ve got a good number of all the varieties I have tried this year, which included Moneymaker, Gardener’s Delight, and the whopping Marmande beefsteak.

Trouble is, they’re all green, and there’s not even a hint of the fruits ripening any time soon. With the nights drawing in and temperatures definitely down, I’m getting very worried that this year’s harvest is going to be a really disappointing one.

Not Just Me!
However, it appears that I’m not alone.

Last night I put a call out on Twitter, asking if anyone else had these problems. With a few exceptions, it seems that plenty of fellow growers are experiencing slow ripening.

I’ve never struggled with toms before and living in a fairly sunny part of the country, I’ve often tucked into tomatoes during July. This year is different though, and I’m having real trouble understanding why. The toms went in at the right time, have been sideshooted, and given enough water. Up until very recently, the weather has been glorious too.

Yet all I’ve enjoyed so far are a handful of cherry toms and a few trial black fruits from the greenhouse. It’s a conundrum, that’s for sure.

I suppose every crop has to have its turn for a bad year. Last summer I lost all my brassicas, and the year before my runners were terrible. But tomatoes are so important to a veg grower. The thought of a summer without tomatoes is just rubbish!

Hope in the Greenhouse
If nothing happens fast on the main plot, then the greenhouse is my last hope. I picked tomatoes up until the end of November in my greenhouse last year, and I’ve got 4 plants in there at the moment. Hopefully, the extended growing season provided by a greenhouse will see me with a few toms before Autumn.

Tips for Ripening Tomatoes
So, is there anything I can do to hurry things along? One interesting tip came from Monty’s Dog on Twitter, who suggested putting a few ripe bananas around my tomatoes. This makes sense, as I’ve read before that bananas give off a gas that ripens nearby fruit.

And of course, I can always resort to picking the more mature green toms and try ripening them inside. You can spot a ‘riper’ green tomato as it will be a touch softer than the other fruits.

A sunny window sill is a good place to start, but it is worth remembering that this method doesn’t always work. If I’m left with a stack of green tomatoes though, then I’m definitely giving it a go.

There is only so much green tomato one man can cope with!

6 thoughts on “Help! My Tomatoes Aren’t Ripening!”

  1. 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)

  2. 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!

  3. I read that placing them in the dark eg place them in a drawer.
    I was skeptical but tried it last year and amazingly it worked a treat.

  4. 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.

    Perhaps try this with one plant first? I’m still sceptical, despite it working so well! 🙂

  5. 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.

  6. Like another user suggested, my Granda swears by stripping the leaves off the bottom halves of each tomato vine. He also hangs used banana skins off various trusses, to save wasting whole fruits. So far so good!

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