A Tomato Myth is Born – More About Tomato Ripening

A few weeks ago I published the post called Ripening Tomato Myths – Both on the Vine and in the Home which explained why tomatoes ripen completely when picked at the breaker stage. Some people pointed out a discrepancy in that post. How could the fruit be sealed off from the plant at breaker stage and still show fruit cracking due to excessive water in the plant? This was a valid point that needed some more investigation.

In this post I will clarify the situation and explain how this tomato myth got started. This will lead us to a better understanding of the tomato ripening process.

A Tomato Myth is Born - More About Tomato Ripening
A Tomato Myth is Born – More About Tomato Ripening

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Ripening Tomato Myths – Both on the Vine and in the Home

You have worked hard all spring and summer to get some fresh red tomatoes from the garden. Now you have all kinds of green tomatoes on the vine and hope that they get red before the frost hits. What can you do to speed up the ripening process? Should you remove some leaves and let more sun reach the fruit? Can you harvest them green and complete the ripening process inside?

Some people suggest putting a banana or apple in a bag with green tomatoes to ripen them – does this work?

Does fertilize or water affect ripening? Would a change in culture speed up the tomato ripening process? Let’s have a close look at the facts and help you bite into a red tomato.

Myths About Ripening Tomatoes: Do you have lots of green tomatoes?
Ripening Tomato Myths: Do you have lots of green tomatoes? Photo credit: Tori Lynn

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What Causes Blossom Drop in Tomatoes?

Why are my tomatoes not producing fruit? This is a common question on social media and in this post I’ll look at the real reasons for blossom drop and poor fruit production, as well as some of the myths people spread about the problem.

In a gardening Facebook Group someone asked, “What am I doing wrong??? This tomato plant is over 8 ft tall and hasn’t produced a single tomato. It has tons of flowers but they always fall off. I have 20 varieties of tomatoes growing and none of them are producing fruit.”

Here are some of the answers that people gave to help this poor gardener.

Tomato blossom - What Causes Blossom Drop in Tomatoes?
Tomato blossom – What Causes Blossom Drop in Tomatoes?

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Seedless Tomatoes – Everything You Need to Know

I understand the reason we want seedless watermelons – because of the big seeds, but seedless tomatoes? Do we really need them? Why would you grow them? If they don’t make seed, how can they be grown from seed? Are these some kind of new GMO franken-toms?

The story of seedless tomatoes is quite interesting and can teach us a lot about plants. In this post I’ll squash out the current knowledge about them and provide you with the background you need to make the proper choice when buying plants for your garden.

Ketchup manufacturers would love seedless tomatoes
Ketchup manufacturers would love seedless tomatoes

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Blossom End Rot

Blossom End Rot (BER) is a disfiguration found in fruiting vegetables, like tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, egg plants and apples. This problem is usually blamed on a shortage of calcium, but this turns out to be a myth.

blossom end rot in tomatoes
Blossom end rot in tomatoes, photo source:  NC State University

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Fertilizer nonsense #3: All Tomatoes Need the Same Fertilizer

Last week I showed that it does not make sense matching a fertilizer formulation to a plant type. For example, a 1-2-1 fertilizer for tomatoes does not make sense. In part this is true because every manufacturer has their own recommendation. But there is a more important mistake being made by anyone who recommends a certain formulation for a specific type of plant–read on.

Fertilizer nonsense #3 All Tomatoes Need the Same Fertilizer
Fertilizer nonsense #3: : All Tomatoes Need the Same Fertilizer

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