Blossom End Rot is the most common reason why green tomatoes rot on the vine. This starts with a small black spot that starts from the blossom end of the fruit and then spreads on the whole fruit. Luckily, Blossom End Rot is not a disease.
They are thus marketed as “tomatoes on the vine.” Now since one can’t grow tomatoes without a vine attached ; since one can’t and doesn’t eat the stem, it is the appearance of the tomatoes that compels the yuppies to pay more.
This of course begs the question “Should tomatoes ripen on the vine?”
The ideal way to ripen tomatoes is on the vine. Although you can replicate the ripening process by recreating favorable conditions, nothing matches the flavor and nutrient content of a vine-ripened tomato. Keeping the tomato connected to the plant is the best way to ripen them if the weather allows for it.
One of the next things we wanted the answer to was how do tomatoes ripen off the vine?
“A layer of cells form across the stem of the tomato, sealing it off from the main vine. When this occurs, there is nothing that can move from the plant into the fruit. The tomato can be harvested and ripened off the vine with no loss of flavor, quality or nutrition .” Note added Sept 2020: The above paragraph in red is not completely true.
One idea is that tomatoes rot on the vine for several reasons, including inconsistent moisture, too much sun, pest infestation and exposure to disease . The first three problems can be addressed as the plant grows to reduce rot on future fruit, but crops that are exposed to disease should be destroyed.
One source claimed Provide your plants with a good two to three-inch layer of organic mulch such as straw, pine needles, or shredded bark. This will maintain more regular soil moisture levels , and you’ll deal with less splitting. In general, the thicker the skin, the less prone a tomato is to splitting.
The next thing we wondered was, do tomatoes ripen off the vine when they change color?
Another answer is Tomatoes that have begun to change color will ripen on or off the vine , so harvest them prior to a storm and place on a windowsill to complete the ripening process. (A side benefit for early harvest: less chance of pests eating your fruit!).
Should you thin tomatoes on the vine?
Pruning or thinning a tomato plant in certain ways will limit the number of fruits allowed to develop on the plant while permitting the fruits that do remain to grow larger. Only one main stem is allowed to develop and all competing suckers that form in branch junctions are pinched or snapped off.
Should you thin tomato fruits in autumn?
Regardless of where you live, the arrival of autumn frost creates an excellent reason to thin tomato fruits. In late summer, tomatoes need 8 to 9 weeks to go from blossom to ripe fruit. If you count back 10 weeks from your first frost date, you know when your tomatoes are starting to waste energy by producing doomed flowers and fruits.
While we were writing we ran into the inquiry “Is it OK to thin out tomato plants?”.
Well, contrary to what many gardeners believe, thinning of tomato fruits in warm summer areas has no effect on the flavour or nutritional valueof the remaining fruits, and only a slight influence on fruit size. In fact, fruit thinning may increase problems with fruit cracking, especially if you thin fruits just before a heavy rain.
Do tomatoes have to be ripe to taste good?
Most people now believe that in order for tomatoes to taste good, they must be ripened on the vine. What is a ripe tomato? It is hard to define, but it should have reached it’s full size and final color. The color could be red, yellow, black, purple and even green striped.
The answer is no. I think we associate the red color of tomatoes with the reddish color of the sun, and incorrectly assume that the sun plays a direct role in the ripening process., and it doesn’t. Therefore, removing leaves from the plant to expose the fruit will NOT speed up the ripening process.
Many argue that allowing them to ripen completely on the vine improves their flavor. Harvesting fully ripened tomatoes requires careful watching of the tomato plants as the fruit should be picked the minute they become their desired color – whether that be the classic red, or possibly yellow or purple.
How to prune Tomatoes?
To prune tomatoes, wait until the leaves under the first set of flowers start to turn yellow. Then, use your fingers to pull off any suckers that are growing under the first cluster of flowers, which will help your tomato plant grow strong and healthy. You should also pull off any yellow leaves on the plant.