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Beginner Gardening: Should I pick tomatoes before freezing weather?

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Forum: Beginner GardeningReplies: 9, Views: 62
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Troy, OH

October 20, 2013
8:43 AM

Post #9690318

It's supposed to get below freezing this coming week. I still have a LOT of tomatoes growing. I would like to know, if I pick them before it freezes, will they ripen indoors, or will they rot first? If they do ripen before they go bad, will they taste the same, or will they be more like store bought?

I don't like green tomatoes, and I don't like store bought either, so if it's a lost cause, I won't bother with them. I was really hoping the warm weather was going to hang on a little longer. My tomatoes are doing awesome, one plant is over 6 foot tall, and they're all still flowering. I really hate to see them go, and I hate the cold weather too. It's all so depressing.
Durhamville, NY
(Zone 5b)

October 20, 2013
10:01 AM

Post #9690364

Any that have started to blush will ripen just fine and the taste will be fine too. Store bought tomatoes taste the way they do because they are bred to taste that way.

If they are slightly before the blushing stage I suspect they will ripen and while they won't taste as good, they should taste better than store bought. The problem is I have no idea how to determine what slightly is.

Is there any way you can top the plants above where they are ripening fruit and cover them around sun down to give the unripe ones a chance to mature more?


Cascade, VA
(Zone 7a)

October 20, 2013
11:38 AM

Post #9690411

i agree with doug about the store bought tomatoes, they are bred more for lasting a long time on the shelves, they could care less about how it tastes.

I have already pulled my plants, because they had become quite exhausted anyways, and there were still plenty of ping pong, to softball sized green tomatoes still on the plant, i just placed them in a paper bag, and that triggers the ripening process to start


Troy, OH

October 20, 2013
11:41 AM

Post #9690412

Snow is in the forecast for this week, so I didn't figure there was any chance of keeping them outside. I searched around the web and read that you can dig them up and then hang them upside down in a cool, dark room ,and they will continue to ripen. I would only recommend doing this if:

1) Your plants are only about 3-4 foot tall.
2) You don't have cages around them.
3) You spaced them far enough apart, that they don't get tangled into one giant heavy a$$ plant!
4) You really, really, really, REALLY want more tomatoes.

I think I'm going to be sore tomorrow LOL! And I probably just brought 100 spiders into my house.


Troy, OH

October 20, 2013
11:49 AM

Post #9690416

Mine were still beautiful and producing a lot of tomatoes, and they were still flowering. I dug them up and brought them in, hung them upside down, and now I wait to see if it works. Did you know if you put a ripening banana in the bag with your tomatoes, that will speed up the ripening process.

Here's what mine looked like before I tore them down.

Thumbnail by sis92
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Troy, OH

October 20, 2013
12:05 PM

Post #9690421

While I was out tearing everything down, I found out my green beans had started producing again. I thought once they were done, they were done. I'm glad they were too pretty to tear down when I thought they were done! They also had more flowers on them.

Here are my tomatoes hanging now, and how big some of the green ones are. I had to wrap them in a blanket to get them in here, and getting them hung up over the door was even more difficult. (and yes, that is a cage in was too tangled to get it out)

This message was edited Oct 20, 2013 3:08 PM

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Boston, MA
(Zone 6b)

October 26, 2013
2:33 PM

Post #9695388

For a long time, folks have wrapped their green tomatoes in newspaper and stored them in the basement to ripen. Wrap each tomato separately and that will help keep them from spoiling. If you want to try it, just pick a few of the green ones from your now hanging plants and see how well they do. If you get good results, newspaper is much easier then bringing you plants in every year.

San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 17, 2014
2:35 AM

Post #9749647

sorry my post is so late, has been a busy winter. I had dozens and dozens of green tomatoes still on the vine in November, before our first freeze here in San Antonio, TX. I harvested all the green tomatoes that had no imperfections. I put them on my kitchen counter, on a 1/2 inch pad of newspaper, not touching each other. They all ripened over a few weeks! I did not wrap them per se in newspaper, just left them out in the open. And they tasted just fine, definitely better than store bought. I don't eat fried foods so I didn't attempt to make Fried Green Tomatoes. I used them in my normal cooking and for making Tomato Basil soup , with the last of my indoor basil plants. The tomatoes took up a lot of counter space so I am building an open rack for them next year, so they don't take up so much footprint on the counter.


SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

January 17, 2014
6:34 AM

Post #9749776

What side of Houston are you growing on? Do you have a winter garden going? If so, what's growing now?

I'm growing veggies in SE Houston, near Hobby Airport off Hwy. 288. I've got cauliflowers, broccoli, beets, cabbages, turnips, onions, Swiss Chard, Kale, Carrots, Snow peas, Mustard and Collard greens going right now.

I'm behind schedule, but figure I'm working on an early Spring harvest, LOL! So far, everything is coming along nicely. Just hope the cold holds out til at least mid-March, and I'll have a nice harvest.

My tomato seedlings have been up since Jan. 11th, and are about to put on the first set of true leaves. I'm growing Sweet Ozark Orange, and a NOID I believe is the "Beauty" variety I grew last season.

I've been reviewing pvc drip irrigation videos, and am getting closer and closer to renting that Groundhog Mini from HD to dig my trenches! Pray for me that I don't hit a gas line, a pipeline, or a tree root, LOL! I'm only going down 8". That should be safe. Planning the pipe runs is the most challenging part right now. Not scared of the trencher.

Last weekend, I rented a Mantis tiller. I gotta get me one 'a those things for Christmas, LOL!

Godspeed, and Good Harvest!

San Antonio, TX
(Zone 8b)

January 19, 2014
7:15 PM

Post #9751551

Hi Gymgirl. I actually moved away from Houston back home to San Antonio 2 years ago. Gardening is a whole new set of challenges here-hotter summers, colder winters, and rock/caliche ground. I had to invest big $ for raised beds, a dumptruck of good gardening soil ($600) and drip irrigation (this was only $140). I only have 300 sq ft of beds, but I got a lot of veggies from it. I will document my landscaping and veggie gardening on a blog I am starting next week, I will emphasize growing from seed and as chemical free as possible. I only have garlic, onion, a little kale and some broccoli going now. Nov and Dec were unusually busy for us with travelling and work, so I didn't get as much kale, and other greens in the ground. Plus, I only will grow what we like to eat. So, never will grow beets, rhubarb, turnips, etc...Hey, I'm not perfect! Gardeners have to learn from our mistakes, and keep on trying. My challenge this year will be to grow a decent bunch of short carrots and some soybean edamame.

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