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What can I do with my green tomatoes?

The autumn is bringing cooler temperatures and so I'm thinking about what I should do with all the green tomatoes still hanging on the vines.

Green tomatoes left over at the end of the season

Will my green tomatoes still ripen?

There are two main things to consider:

  • Is it warm enough? In order to produce the hormones it needs to turn red, the tomato needs temperatures in between 10 and 29 degrees centigrade. We've got a few more weeks of temps above 10 here in Kent (south east England), so hopefully I have a few more red ones coming.

  • Has the tomato reached its full size? Tomatoes will not start to produce the ripening hormones unless it has reached its full size. So, very young tomatoes will probably not have enough time now to finish growing and ripen.

What can I do to encourage ripening?

I can't do anything about the weather, but I can help the plant to direct its energies where I want them, i.e. getting those existing tomatoes through their growing and ripening stages.

Someone cutting a tomato plant with secateurs, a green tomato

Cut off the top so the tomato plant isn't putting energy into growing.

Someone cutting off tomato flowers with secateurs

Cut off any flowers - it's too late for these to get pollinated and grow fruit now.

Someone cutting very small green tomatoes with a secateurs

Cut off any very tiny tomatoes - they won't be able to grow quickly enough to reach the ripening stage before the weather gets too cold