In the intermountain and high desert regions, we are headed into a gorgeous Indian Summer. Our fruit trees are dropping sun-warmed sweet fruit faster than we can pick it. Our vegetables are ripening for harvest too, but sometimes the veggies need a little help. Here are some tips to ripen tomatoes on the vine.
Check your plants now and remove any fresh new top growth down to the first branch of tomatoes. Hot days, cool nights and the softer rays of the sun make tomato plants produce more flowers and top growth rather than ripen tomatoes that are already on the plant.
You’ll want to remove any new growth from the side branches too. Removing new growth forces the hormones to reconfigure and begin the ripening process.
Go through the entire plant and remove any new blossoms that may be hidden inside the inner branches. These blossoms will not have time to actually produce any sizable fruit. If all the plant’s energy goes into producing new blossoms, it will slow the ripening process on the existing fruit. The fruit will also be smaller.
Reduce watering, but be consistent with how often you water. Too much water at this time of year creates more unwanted top growth. Reduced water is a signal that its time for the next cycle of life. Less water also helps the ripening fruit develop more flavor.
Take a little time one warm evening as the light turns to dusk and root-prune all the way around the entire plant. This means, take a shovel and push it straight down into the soil to cut through the plant’s roots. This is another stimulus for the plant’s energy to move into the task of ripening. And you’ll enjoy the fragrance of the moist organic soil.
There is nothing more flavorful than a fresh sun-ripened tomato right off the vine. Remove any ripened fruit as soon as possible. Enjoy your diligence with a warm bacon and tomato sandwich on homemade bread and think of the tomatoes you’re going to plant next year!
In sync with nature,