Don't give up on your still growing green tomatoes, as warm temperatures are forecast to continue in the Fraser Valley for at least three more weeks. Plus the forecast for the coming week is for record breaking high temperatures from Southern California to British Columbia :
Background & Summer Weather
Tomatoes have always been a relatively easy crop to grow often with ripe tomatoes in the green house in June. But this year due to the very cool, wet Spring and Summer; at the moment (beginning of September) most of the tomatoes on the vine are very green and hard.
The Good News is: On checking the long range forecast for British Columbia, we may have maybe a month of warm weather ahead, with no significant rain until the end of the month. So hoping this will enable more fruit to ripen, to preserve and enjoy a large part of the remaining green tomato crop.
Helping to Ripen Tomatoes
I am trying to help along the ripening process by:
- All extra (non fruiting) branches have been pruned from the plants and the indeterminate tomatoes tops pruned so as to stop their growth
- Recent new blossoms have been removed in the past week to perhaps direct more "strength" for the plant to put into the fruit already on the vine
- Any dead or "yellow" leaves etc pruned daily (not recycled in the home compost)
- Watch the night time minimum temperatures each day. If it is around or below 10 degrees Celsius I cover with a plastic sheet and remove next morning
- I have picked some tomatoes which were starting to turn colour & ripen. They are stored in brown paper bags in the bottom of the cupboard for a day or two and then are usually ready to can. Check bags daily for ripe tomatoes and damage / rotting. I have been doing this successfully for about two weeks.
- PS : I am canning a little every other day and of course enjoying the incredible taste of freshly picked ripe tomatoes
- Here's an interesting article on The The Role of Ethylene in Fruit Ripening
Commercial organic farmers both in this area as well as the southern Okanagan we have spoken to have had "disaster" tomato crops and currently have long customer waiting lists wishing to purchase ripe tomatoes. Unfortunately at the time of writing, they had no inventory. Each year we have been able to can from our own garden but not so far this year. With hopes of 3 more sunny weeks of weather, and fruit ripening on the vine, this should hopefully be a more successful summer especially for Farmers whose annual incomes often depend on their summer crops.
Hoping this short (and quickly written) article encourages you to persevere with your home grown tomatoes. The veggie garden has been and is a great past time during our current pandemic. It is also a good time to plant fall and winter greens, like kale. Thought for next year : Plan on starting tomato seeds inside in February ... Happy Gardening!
Links & References :
- Sweltering heat expected on West Coast North America early September 2020
- 2020 Dirty Dozen Pesticide Residual List from EWG
- 2020 The Clean 15 Pesticide Residual List from EWG
- Planting Tomatoes
Fresh Tomato Recipes
- Quick Chilli (2020)
- Easy Tomato & Onion Casserole - fresh is best and home canned is second best (2020)
- Use tomato pulp in a super quick & easy Omelette (2018) . Of course the juice is saved for soup etc
- Use Canned tomatoes instead of broth in a home made Chunky Chicken or Vegetable Soup (2016)
- Vegetarian Lasagne (2011)
- Dads Canned Tomato recipe
Growing Your Own Vegetables at Home
- Many reasons to start a vegetable garden next year (2019)
- 3 Favourite vegetables to Grow at Home (2018)
- 15 Reasons to grow your own tomatoes (2016)
- 12 Reasons to Grow your own food (2016)
- The Self Sufficient Gardener by John Seymour (2011)