August Jobs
Sometimes those green tomatoes look as if they’ll never ripen!
Here are a few tips to help them along …

Tall Varieties

  • Remove all leaf branches below the first truss
  • Pinch out the main growing tip above four trusses for  tomatoes growing outdoors and six trusses for the toms in the greenhouse.
  • Make sure that all side shoots are removed – there’s often a crafty one around the back!
  • Sometimes trusses sprout an extra shoot at the end – a sort of extension with leaves. This extension is best removed.
  • Foliar feeding is the quickest and most effective way to get nutrients into a tomato plant. Check that your brand of tomato food is OK for foliar spraying because some makes may damage leaves.

If you’ve done the above, all you can do is keep feeding (as instructed by the directions on the box) and hope that the sun shines – that helps speed up ripening too.

Bush Varieties
Side shoots aren’t normally removed from bush varieties, but if your season ends September/October as in the UK, you may think about removing some of the less developed flow buds if you’ve plenty of tomatoes growing already.

This will speed up the ripening process as plants will have less jobs to do and focus on getting those green toms ripe!

Feeding regularly is also important of course.

Tidying Up Plant Leaves
For those of us with plants that have been growing for several months, it’s safe to say that some of the leaves, especially the lower ones, will look a bit dodgy.

Before becoming too concerned about whether it is the result of a disease, remove poor looking leaves and if necessary leaf branches too. If there is no further sign of the same leaf problem, there is no need for treatment.

keeping the air circulating around the stem at soil level, is a good way to keep plants healthy and prevent fungal diseases and an infestation of bugs etc.

Tomato Taste – Is it really in bad taste?
One comment I had last week suggested that frying home-grown tomatoes was a taboo – they’re too good to be used in that way!

This reminded me to mention that it is better not to keep tomatoes in the fridge – it degrades their flavour and they don’t really last longer than at a cool room temperature.

I must admit that I do love fried tomatoes with egg and bacon, and warming tomatoes brings out their flavour – someone suggested tomatoes on toast – what a good idea!

Here’s a picture of a tray of tomatoes that I keep in the kitchen right now. By this evening quite a few will be eaten but I’ll probably pick another fifty or so today to replace them.

Tomato Assortment – Red Alert, Tumbling Tom, Maskotka, Golden Sunrise, Sungold, Latah, etc.

I have well over fifty plants so it’s easy to have a constant supply but not all varieties have been successful this season.

The delay in flower/set (probably due in part to the late arrival of bees etc.) has meant that some plants are well behind schedule and some have produced ripe tomatoes smaller that their expected size.

However, growing a lot of plants and varieties helps to ensure a good crop because at least some will be successful. I always have enough for family and the neighbours – I need to keep them sweet!

Best wishes and I hope you’re tomatoes are ripening nicely!


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10 Responses

  1. Avril
    | Reply

    I have been growing tomatoes for 3 years now and find I learn more each year. This year I have had loads of help form your website with brilliant results!
    This year I am growing Sweet Million, Sungold and Gardeners Delight. The Sweet Million have been ripening for a while now, second Sungold and lastly Gardeners Delight. I still have a lot of green toms and a few flowers.
    I am sad that our tomato growing season is once again coming to an end. Therefore, I am now thinking of seeds to sow for next year. I tend to only go for the cherry tomatoes because of their sweetness and because I grow them in growhouses. I was wondering If you could advice of a small-medium sized tom that is quite sweet and tolerant to cooler temperatures?
    So far I think I will be sowing Sweet Million and Polen tomato seeds. I have not tried the Polen before. Has anyone tried these?
    Nick, I too would like to thank you for your wonderful information and all the time you must spend on this website for our benefit. I hope you will be doing the same next year!
    Just a thought, but it would be great to have a members page or something similar next year so we could all share stories, photos problems etc.?
    Anyway, thanks for all your kind help Nick.
    Kind Regards

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Avril,
      Thank you very much for your kind words and I’m pleased that you have had such good results!
      A members page is a great idea and I’ll make sure that I sort something out for next season.

      Stupice (a tall variety) has medium or medium/small fruit that has an excellent taste, and Red Alert (a bush variety), has larger than average fruit for a cherry variety if you give it plenty of root room and probably the best tasting cherry for sweet/sour balance I have ever tasted.
      They are both capable of being grown in cooler climes. I sow these in February (indoors) and if you can keep them from becoming too leggy, they will be the first to produce fruit – ahead of any other variety!
      Latah (a bush tom) is also good for short seasons with a very good taste but its yield is not as great as Red Alert.
      Best wishes,

  2. Paul Marshall
    | Reply

    Hi Nick
    My first season growing tomatoes and everything seems to be going fine,four healthy plants and steadily ripening tomatoes.One question if i may ask I dont think I stopped them growing early enough and I still have trusses at the top of my plants in flower should I remove them or leave them on,Im growing outdoors by the way. Thanks for all your advice


    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Paul,
      It takes at least two months from the time the flowers set fruit to the time tomatoes ripen. So unless you have small toms growing already, it will be too cold for them to ripen when they reach full size outdoors.
      So basically, what I’m suggesting is to remove flowers that haven’t already set to speed up the growth of the toms already on the plants.

  3. Nathan Green
    | Reply

    This may seem like a very silly question but here goes! 1st time I’ve tried growing fruit so I’m a complete novice, I got bought some fledgling plants at in spring and I’m not sure what type they are, even if they are ‘bush’ or ‘tall’ variety! Got quite a few green tomatoes growing but not sure which of the above tips to follow!
    How can I tell which type they are?

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Nathan,
      Tall plants will have one main stem that is above 3ft in height and trusses of flowers/fruit growing off of the main stem. Bush varieties will have stems in all directions and be no more than about 2ft in height – their flowers/fruit grow in clusters at the end of leaf branches.
      If you’ve got to the point where the plant is fruiting, I would just leave it as it is – unless you are sure that it is a tall variety, then you could remove side shoots and pinch out the growing tip after four trusses if you are growing outside.
      Whatever you do the most important thing is to keep feeding tomato food and your toms will be ripe soon!

  4. alan
    | Reply

    glad i got your emails i grow my toms in a leanto not very big but taking
    your advice this is the best crop i have had
    many thanks

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Alan,
      I’m pleased that your efforts are bearing fruit!

  5. roy lether
    | Reply

    i love your stuff! full of good tips and info. best ive come accross anywhere. this is my 1st year growing outside so im learning as im going. must admit it is testing my patience as it is a slow process but it is fun. i am growing sungold and suncherry and they have very long trusses but it is difficult to know when they are fully ripe. do i pick them 1 by 1 or wait for the whole truss to ripen? would appreciate your nous.! keep up the good work as britains version of tomato mastermind! roy.

    • Nick
      | Reply

      Hi Roy,
      I have 60 seconds starting from now!
      You can pick them 1 by 1 and the Sungold are deep orange when they’re ripe and Suncherry fully red. They’ll also be easier to pick when they are ripe.
      I’ve started so I’ll finish!

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