It looks like the hot, dry period is over and the wet and breezy spell has arrived here in the UK.
It will certainly give the blight resistant plants a “run for their money” and see just how blight resistant they are!
I think next season I’ll grow more salad items such as:
- Loose leaf lettuce – very easy to grow
- Cucumbers – the mini varieties are easy and prolific – can be pickled (gerkins) too.
- Spring Onions – fine soil and sow at the right time
- Sweet Peppers – the smaller size ones grow well in a short season
- Chilli Peppers – allow them to dry for the hottest flavour
- Herbs – basil and tomatoes are a match made in heaven! Coriander (cilantro) is great too.
All of the above can be grown in containers – chiilies and sweet peppers similar to tomatoes and can also be grown outside in a good summer.
Choose a small hybrid F1 variety for the greatest chance of success.
I’ve had more tomatoes this season than my wife and I, or the neighbours can eat, so it’s time to think about growing a few other salad items.
If your plants show signs of blight over the next week or two, here is a page about tomato blight from last season that should help.
How to encourage tomatoes to ripen on the plant
Great looking tomatoes but still green
It’s around the middle of September that temperatures drop and ripening outdoors becomes an issue, so there is still plenty of time if a lot of your toms are still green.
However, at that time of the season, you will probably have some wonderful looking trusses of tomatoes on your plants … the only thing is, the tomatoes are still green!
If the tomatoes on the lower trusses have reached their full size but are taking their time to ripen, there are a number of things we can do to help the process along.
- Reduce nitrogen and increase potassium (potash). Too much nitrogen can delay ripening.
- Remove all side shoots and stop the plants by pinching out the top of the main growing stem – on tall varieties.
- Remove all flowers or very small tomatoes that won’t reach full size before the end of the season.
- Pick tomatoes as soon as they start to turn colour.
Stress can encourage tomatoes to ripen on the plant – here are a few tips on how to stress tomato plants. This is best done towards the end of August.
- Reduce watering frequency – longer periods between watering encourages ripening. Of course you need to be careful not to allow plants to wilt, and you can’t do this if you are using a reservoir.
- Heavy pruning of leaf branches, if tomatoes have reached full size, this will shock plants into ripening their tomatoes.
- Cutting some of the roots by sticking a trowel into the soil about 4 or 5 inches from the stem base – a bit extreme maybe but it can work as a last resort at the end of the season!
Professional growers sometimes use a “forcing solution” to speed-up the ripening process. One such solution is GHE Ripen. It gives a plant a strong signal that it is coming to the end of its life. The plant reacts by speeding the ripening process, in a last effort to reproduce.
How to encourage picked tomatoes to ripen.
This is a lot easier … all you need to do is to put them into a large bowl with a ripe banana or other very ripe tomatoes. The gas that is produced by ripe fruit encourages the unripe tomatoes to ripen.
Of course there is always fried green tomatoes but we would rather have the ripe ones – especially if we are going to save seeds for next season!