Green Tomatoes

It is hard to believe that summer has come to an end.  I almost sound like a broken record saying that this year was challenging.  Nebraska was hit with historic weather that impacted every corner of the state.

Portions of the Omaha area was hit with hail late May that made us replant our vegetable gardens (along with getting new roofs).  As we start to close out our vegetable gardens our tomato plans still have fruit that has yet to turn.  Typically in the Omaha area our first potential frost date is October 11th.  As we approach that date we need to decide if we want to let our green tomatoes go or should we try to ripen them indoors.

20190925_090135     Fruit that is starting to show a blush of pink, or color change can be picked and brought indoors.  Tomatoes do not need sunlight to ripen so they do not need to be placed by the window.  Place the fruit in an area where you can keep an eye on it and over the course of a week it will slowly ripen.  Keep an eye out for signs of rot and discard any that turn to mush.

If you do not have tomatoes showing color change and a frost is predicted pick the mature green tomatoes.  These will be the fruit that are at the mature size and they will also have a green’ish-white coloration on their skin.  The fruit should be blemish free and not cracked.  Any fruit that has physical damage will probably rot before they ripen indoors.

Hand wrap each tomato in some newspaper and place in a open storage container or cardboard box.  Over the course of ten to 14 days the tomatoes will slowly ripen.  Check each tomato every other day for signs of rot or softness and discard them.

Taking some time this fall you can extend your access to fresh tomatoes well into October after the first frost.

Scott Evans
Scott Evans is a horticulture assistant with Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties. A certified arborist through International Society of Arboirculture and Nebraska Arborist Association. Scott is also Tree Risk Assessment Qualified through ISA. Scott co-leads the Master Gardener program in Douglas & Sarpy counties. Along with volunteer management he provides his expertise with disease and insect identification, lawn and landscape weed management, plant health, and I.P.M. practices. He also enjoys growing many houseplants ranging from African violets to cacti and succulents. Scott has two Bachelors of Science, one in Biology (emphasis in Botany, Ecology and Environmental Science) and second in Environmental Geology from Northwest Missouri State University. He earned his Master of Agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.