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Help -- My Tomatoes are Shivering!  RSS feed

 
Audrey Barton
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Location: Mid-Michigan
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Here in Mid-Michigan we've had an unseasonably cool, wet summer.

My tomato starts, all 40 of them, grew fast and have produced endless, delightful green fruits...
But they're still green.
Some are trying to turn, but they need more heat!

We're looking at another week (at least) of somewhat-rainy weather, with highs in the low 70s.
My plan is to cover the beds with polyethylene (they're raised, cedar-sided beds measuring 4 by 10 feet).

Is it worth the trouble?
Will it work?
Should I be worried about trapping too much moisture in there?
 
Dave Burton
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How long is it going to stay this cold?

Tomatoes can be protected with tunnel row covers, floating row covers, bubble wrap, individual plant covers, or even blankets and sheets. Also, there are different methods from insulation that can be used to protect plants from frost, like dehydration.

For ripening the tomatoes, on-the-plant methods can include feeding the plant compost tea, fish emulsion, or the removal of diseased leaves.
The tomatoes could also be ripened indoors with a ripe apple or banana or even taking the entire plant- root and all- to hang in a garage or cellar to ripen. I found this information here and here.
 
John Elliott
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Or you do what we do here in the South when the weather turns cold and there are still tons of green tomatoes on the vine: cook them and eat them. And you can also pickle them.

But I know what you mean, no matter how well prepared, fried green tomatoes or garlic dill pickled tomatoes are still a poor substitute for a ripe one fresh off the vine.
 
Audrey Barton
Posts: 22
Location: Mid-Michigan
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Thanks for the suggestions.

The cold isn't damaging to the plants, I'm just tired of waiting for red tomatoes.
My compost tea isn't ready yet, but that's what I'll try in a few more days. I certainly don't want to harvest them all or pull the plants. I'm impatient, but not yet desperate!

I thought that the greenhouse effect created by polyethylene would speed the ripening process -- am I wrong?
 
John Elliott
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Audrey Barton wrote:

I thought that the greenhouse effect created by polyethylene would speed the ripening process -- am I wrong?


It's worth a try. My greenhouse is a temporary one with polyethylene walls, and in the winter I have no problem with tomatoes ripening in it.
 
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