Yesterday afternoon, I harvested almost 50 lbs. of unripe tomatoes. No problem. They’ll ripen over the next several weeks. Last year, fresh tomatoes graced my plate until after Thanksgiving. Same for the people they were shared with.
My favorite tomato is a huge heirloom that I call sunset grande. One full size tomato is as big as my outstretched hand. That type was the majority that was green-harvested; but four are ready for eating and within this Itcolorful pico.
The second tomato joy this year was Indigo Apple, another heirloom variety. Medium size, 85-90 day to harvest, this tomato plant produces profusely. The fruit is beautiful to behold at every stage; but when it is ripe … it is intense in color and full in flavor.
Interesting to note: the heirloom varieties of tomato bounced back from the killing frost in early June; no hybrids did. As a result, no straight red tomatoes grew in the garden.
Another FYI is that my neighbor and I experimented with different coverings for the cold nights. She used a woven material, like a light canvas. I used $5 sheers (curtains) from Dollar General with clothes pins around the tomato cages. The latter I can do myself (with the physical handicaps). Both worked, so I’ll opt for the one that is easier for this body because assistance is unpredictable (everyone’s full lives).
You probably already know how to put up green tomatoes to slowly self-ripen. But, if not, here’s the short version.
- Harvest them before the frost blights them.
- Use flat trays (cardboard or plant-flat trays that are clean). Line them with newspaper. Put green tomatoes in the tray with room to breathe.
- Put the tray in a cool (not cold) darkened room or closet. This year, the unused bedroom is the place.
- Cover with something that darkens the light getting to the tomatoes. I used the curtain sheers again.
- Check the tomatoes every other day or so. Remove any that begin to ripen and set them aside in your ripening nursery. Ripening tomatoes exude a gas that signals others to ripen. Humans don’t smell anything; but slow ripening of a few at a time is easier to handle (eat) than 5 at a time!
This is what it all looks like. And breakfast: farm eggs from a neighbor, chard and tomatoes from the garden. Yum!