Week 11 of the Weekly Garden Digest – Timely Tomatoes

Why aren’t my tomatoes turning red?!

The Situation with the Green Tomatoes

As temperatures rise and your tomato plants grow bigger, producing an abundance of fruit, you might eagerly anticipate the moment they turn ripe red. At Willow Lane Garden Co., we are currently experiencing the same anticipation in our own kitchen garden. Despite having numerous green tomatoes on the vines, they have remained unripe for the past two to three weeks.

In our initial year of growing tomatoes, we felt concerned that we had made some mistake or that something was amiss. To address this issue, we delved into research and sought advice from experts in the industry. The answer we discovered might surprise you!

Stay with us as we delve into the reasons behind this phenomenon and share valuable insights on how you can aid your plants in progressing through the ripening phase.

Cluster of tomatoes on the vine, showcasing a mix of vibrant red ripe ones and green tomatoes in various stages of growth.

The Scientific and Easy Answer for Green Tomatoes

The straightforward answer lies in the heat. Tomatoes thrive in ripening when temperatures range between 20-24 degrees Celsius (70-75 Fahrenheit). However, when the mercury climbs above 25C (80+F), the ripening process drastically slows down, almost to a standstill. To gauge when your tomatoes might start ripening, it’s essential to check historical temperatures in your zone.

For those with a scientific curiosity, here’s our best attempt to explain it. When temperatures surpass 25C (80+F), tomatoes are unable to produce lycopene and carotene—the pigments responsible for the fruit’s characteristic orange to red hue. Consequently, tomatoes remain in their mature green stage for an extended period.

Ordinarily, it takes around 6-8 weeks for a tomato flower to mature into a ripe fruit after fertilization. However, with the current heatwave, this timeline becomes unpredictable, and patience becomes essential. The ripening phase may even pause until cooler temperatures return.

Cluster of tomatoes on the vine, showcasing a mix of vibrant red ripe ones and green tomatoes in various stages of growth.

5 Key Takeaways

1. Tomatoes ripen best in temperatures around 20-24 degrees Celsius (70-75 Fahrenheit), but the ripening process slows down significantly in temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius (80+ Fahrenheit).

2. Higher temperatures above 25C (80+F) hinder the production of pigments like lycopene and carotene, responsible for giving tomatoes their red color, leading to extended periods of green fruit.

3. Ripening times may become unpredictable during hot weather, requiring patience and understanding that the ripening phase can pause until cooler temperatures return.

4. To optimize ripening, pick tomatoes when they show the slightest sign of ripening, avoiding harvesting green tomatoes that haven’t begun the ripening process.

5. Store picked green tomatoes in a location with moderate temperatures, such as the kitchen counter or a cooler, darker space, to encourage gradual and successful ripening.

Lush green tomatoes hanging on the vine in the garden, promising a future harvest of plump, juicy fruits.

Its That Easy!

We hope you found this week’s newsletter filled with valuable insights and inspiration for your kitchen garden endeavors! Remember, our journey doesn’t end here.

Connect with us on social media for even more gardening tips, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and updates. We love engaging with our community and hearing about your gardening experiences. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube to join the conversation and be part of our growing community of plant enthusiasts!

If you’re feeling inspired and have ideas bubbling up for your own kitchen garden project, we’d be thrilled to chat with you. Our team is here to offer guidance, share our expertise, and bring your garden dreams to life. Whether it’s a design consultation, construction services, or a tailored plan, we’re ready to embark on this exciting journey with you.

Don’t hesitate to reach out and start the conversation. Share your aspirations, ask questions, and let us help you turn your vision into a thriving reality. We can’t wait to be part of your kitchen garden success story!

We are here to help you achieve your gardening goals! Reach out with any questions that might come up throughout your journey. 

We are excited to announce that there are some new DIY plans on our Etsy store. Whether you need some more storage in the garden, are looking to spruce up your curb appeal or are looking for a new way to grow your tomatoes, we have something for you!

Check it out here – https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/WillowLaneGardenCo

Best regards,

Tessa & Kyle
Willow Lane Garden Co.

P.S. Tag us in your garden photos and stories on social media. We’d love to see your green thumb in action! 

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