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frost bite on tomato plants

Brazoria, TX(Zone 9b)

I have several plants with large fruit on them and did not really want to pick them just yet. Last night we had a frost and all the leaves bit the dust. the tomatoes look good. Do I need to pick them off the vine and let them ripen or will it hurt to let them stay on the vine and ripen?

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7a)

I picked my green tomatoes and they ripened
very nicely in the house.

If you leave them on the vine, frost will cause
the tomatoes to burst.

(Zone 7b)

It depends on what your forecasted lows are for the next few nights. If low 40's or above, you may as well go ahead and leave them on (I would), as any damage that was done (if any) has already occurred. Even tho the leaves took a hit, the toms will continue to draw some nutrients/energy from the vines.

If forecasted lows are going to be in the 30s, pick them, especially if they are to the mature green stage, evidenced by turning a lighter green, with a white "star" on the bottom if you look carefully.

My temps in Elgin look solid to leave plants out unprotected for the next five nights per the weather underground forecast, so yours should be as well.

Edit/add - this time of yr, as soon as tomatoes show any blush whatsoever (first breaker stage), I go ahead and pick them and put inside to ripen.

(Further edited to clarify differences between mature green and breaker.)

This message was edited Dec 17, 2008 3:24 PM

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Suze_ isn't itsupposed to get really cold Monday? I like your forcast better.

Brazoria, TX(Zone 9b)

I don't think the forecast indicates any temps lower than 45 in my area for the next few days, as I am pretty near the coast. I will look at the bottoms for a white star. Never heard of that before.
I have already picked several prior to the frost and they are developing very nice in the window. I usually wrap the green ones in newspaper til they ripen but being I had so many, I thought I would just leave them on the vine until we had a hard freeze. Wasn't expecting the frost.
thanks for the help.
Susie

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I always wrap them in newspaper and put them in a paperbag too. How many do you have? I've got 20+ tomato plants in pots that keep coming in the house. This crazy TX weather. I have never eard of that "star" either but it is very interesting.

(Zone 7b)

1lisac, my forecast is for 41 Mon, which I don't consider "really cold" at least for the purposes of the question Susie asked, but it is close to 30s and could change as we get closer to Mon, of course. Your forecast may differ, here's mine:

http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=78621

As to the white/lighter star (white lines radiating out from the blossom end) I was referring to, it's kind of faint, best seen in good light.

(Zone 7b)

This probably isn't the best/textbook example, but I thought I would attach a pic so you could see what I'm talking about.

Thumbnail by Suze_
Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

What does that star mean? That they will ripen in the house?

Brazoria, TX(Zone 9b)

Today I went out and inspected my tomatos again.I had about 30 on the vines but only about 10 were worth wrapping. The others showed signs of frostbite so I thought I would cut them and try to collect any seeds to dry out. Don';t know if this is gonna work but better try something instead of nothing and giving up. I did find out one thing though. My newest veggie bed is not as well protected as I once thought it was.I also had to pick my bell and poblano peppers. My freezer is full of peppers so thought I may pickle these.
I spent all afternoon wrapping plants tuesday but forgot the tomatos.
Interesting about the star on the tomatos.
Watched the weather channel and it is not supposed to go below 50 this week.
I love my warm weather........................
Susie

(Zone 7b)

A star is one indication that the tomato has made it to the "mature green" stage and should ripen up in the house when picked.

Brazoria, TX(Zone 9b)

Whoops, guess we are in for another really,really cold spell Sunday or Monday coming in from Siberia. I went ahead and picked and wrapped all my tomatos. glad you clarified about the star. I'll remember that.

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