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Grow with KARE: Ripen tomatoes faster!

There are ways to get green tomatoes on your plants to ripen faster with the end of the growing season approaching.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Tomatoes just taste better when they’ve ripened on the vine, but with the growing season winding down, they might not be able to get the job done by themselves. 

If you have a bunch of green ones still growing in your garden there are three simple steps to helping them ripen faster into a brilliant red (or yellow or orange!)

  1. Remove all remaining flowers on the plant and any very tiny tomatoes too. At this point they don’t have time to mature and will just take energy away from the other fruit that is much farther along. You can cut them off or simply pinch them between two fingers.
  2. Cut off the main stem of the plant two branches above your highest cluster of tomatoes. Again, the energy the plant will put into growing these new stems can be put to better use lower down.
  3. Trim off any leaves on the plant that are shading the fruit. You want the sunlight to reach the actual tomatoes to help them ripen. Don’t trim off all the leaves, but feel free to make some drastic cuts.

If there is a frost or freeze warning in the forecast for you, pick remaining green tomatoes and put them in a paper bag or wrapped in newspaper with an apple or banana. 

Put the bag in a cool location like the basement or garage and check them daily, removing tomatoes from the bag as they ripen.


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