Veggie update – Green tomatoes

Green tomatoes
Do your tomatoes look like these? A friend of mine was just telling me how she has a garden full of green tomatoes and was wondering how in the world she can get most of them to ripen before the dreaded frosts come.

There are actually a few things you can do in order to enjoy ripe tomatoes. They’re all pretty quick and easy to do:

1. Trim back all of the branches, right above where any fruit is that you think will ripen by frost-time. That should be any tomato that is 2 inches or more in diameter. There’s no point in saving flowers or tiny tomatoes on the plants because they just won’t be harvest-able in time.

2. Cut back a bit on the amount of water you’re giving to the plants to stress them, which will cause them to ripen the tomatoes on the vines.

3. If you’re really desperate, take a shovel and cut straight down through the plant’s roots in a semi-circle that is about 8 to 10 inches from the base of the plant. This also will stress the plant and speed up the ripening time.

4. Another option is to pick all of the larger green tomatoes off your plants and put them in your basement – or other cool, dark place – between sheets of newspaper. I do this every year with the ones that haven’t ripened and it works really well. Occasionally, a tomato will rot during this process but it doesn’t happen very often. Just space the tomatoes at least an inch apart from each other so that if one rots, it doesn’t spread to its neighbor.

5. If all else fails, and the weather folks say we’re due for some frosts, you can always pull up the entire plants and hang them upside-down in an outbuilding or your garage. Place a tarp underneath them to catch any tomatoes that might fall off.

OK, now you’ve got a game plan and you will definitely get some ripe tomatoes out of your garden! However, if you still have some green tomatoes, why not make some fried green tomatoes or a green tomato pie that, amazingly enough, tastes like an apple pie?