End of Season Ripening of Green Tomatoes

 Near to the end of the summer, tomato growers are wondering how to get the remaining trusses to ripen. This seems to be a bit of a problem this year in the UK in some areas, as I have seen a lot of posts about it on Gardener’s World Facebook page. 

 TOMATOES WILL RIPEN WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT - Do not panic if it is still quite warm as the tomatoes will ripen when they are ready and not always when you expect them to. 

If the plants are dying then you can pick all the green tomatoes to ripen them off the plant with any of the methods below. 


REMOVE THE GROWING HEAD - This is one of the main jobs at the end of the season. Nip out the head of the tomato plant, leaving a few leaves at least after the last truss. You can choose a truss a few trusses down from the last one to leave more leaves. 

REMOVE LEAVES - One of the first things to do is always remove leaves to just above where the fruit is ripening. If you are not too bothered about the higher trusses ripening, then remove leaves further up as well. This lets more sun hit  the tomatoes to ripen them. 

HANG A BANANA SKIN - A very old adage to ripen tomatoes and fruit is to hang a banana or a banana skin close to the trusses. Bananas make other fruit ripen because they release a gas called ethane (formerly ethylene). If tomatoes are off the plant, then place the tomatoes in a bowl or a breathable bag with a banana to ripen the fruit. Or you could put some tomatoes in a shoe box with a banana.


 WATER LESS - If you have removed the head of the plant and also keep removing shoots, you will need to cut down on your watering or you will get split fruit otherwise. You should not really need to feed plants anymore from this stage.

 VENTILATE LESS - You have to be careful with this option, as you do not want to encourage diseases, so never stop ventilation altogether at this time of the year. However, if you have a little less ventilation to warm up the poly-tunnel or greenhouse a little bit more especially at night, it will aid ripening the tomatoes.

PLACE TOMATOES ON A WINDOW CILL - By lining up tomatoes in a warm window cill is another way to ripen tomatoes faster. 


There are many ways to cook and treat unripe green tomatoes, so here are a few ideas that you can look up.


Green tomato salsa recipe

                   Green Tomato Salsa

 Green tomato chutney, fried green tomatoes, pickled green tomatoes, green tomato relish, sauteed green tomatoes, green tomato enchilada sauce, green tomato marmalade, spicy green tomato and apple chutney, greentomato chili or green tomto bread. There are many more recipes on the net for what to do with green tomatoes, so there is no excuse to waste them. You might have to experiment a litttle before you find your favorite green tomato recipe.