Thursday, 15 September 2011

To Pick or Not To Pick

Ack - such turmoil and conflict in my head!

My tomatoes (hundreds of them) are JUST NOW starting to ripen on the vine but our weather has cooled to fall temperatures.  Night time lows are around/just below zero and daytime highs are between 10C and 20C.   The extended forecast looks pretty stable with much of the same temperatures as we have now.

Do I pick them all green now and have them slowly ripen indoors or leave them another week and continue covering them with plastic each night?  Will that make much of a difference in the flavour and taste?   I am terrified of losing them to hard frost so I am much more vigilant about covering them fully.

What say you experienced northern gardeners???  Do I pick or leave them another week?


  1. Pick, from a Southern gardener, they get a beautiful flavour ripening in the dark inside. Our gardening guru Peter Cundall recommends picking at the first glimpse of colour change - apparently sun can spoil flavour!I do it that way we with great results, saves them from the birds. There's always green tomato chutney or pickle if worst comes to worst.

  2. Good advice! I am leaning towards picking!

  3. Here in Delaware, It is still warm but not hot, and that, with the days shortening, and the intensity of the sun changing, the gardens have really slowed down. The tomato vines are growing and growing, but the tomatoes are staying green here too. I've started to pick them, and they ripen nicely. If you don't want to give up just yet, you could pick most (as a frost would ruin them for sure, and the cold might too) and keep some on the vine as an experiment. Then, make a note of it for next year. Good luck! love,andrea

  4. Kristy gave all the advice I had. I know if you wrap them individually in newspaper, they will ripen nicely and not rot too fast.

  5. Thanks all :) I'm going to pick today. I have space in my basement pantry which is dark and cool. I'll fill the windowsill and put the rest down in the basement. Can't wait to see how many pounds...

  6. Sorry this comment is probably too late for you but I just read yesterday that you can hang the whole plant in a dark place and the tomatoes will eventually ripen with good flavor I haven't tried it though so don't know if it works.
    I hope you enjoy your tomatoes.