Autumn green tomato roundup
Bringing in green tomatoes before the first frost is a must in my Zone 7 garden. The fruit may take a long time to ripen and remain rather pale, but the the flavor will far outshine any store-bought tomato.
Tomato plants will freeze at 32-degrees F (or 0-degrees C), so beginning as soon as the night air feels chill, I check the weather forecasts every day to stay ahead of Jack Frost. One year Jack beat me by one day and my harvest, sadly, rotted in the box caused by damage to the shoulders of each fruit.
Last year I caught the green tomato harvest in time, and I had lots of fresh tomatoes to look forward to as the weeks turned into the months of Winter.
Fill your box (I use a plastic version in a cool corner of my basement) with green fruit, but leave a bit of breathing space around each if you can. Do not crowd. Check the box regularly, removing any moldy or weeping tomatoes. Mine sit on, and are covered by, sheets of brown paper from grocery bags. The idea of covering with paper is to allow some air to exchange and help trap gases emitted by the tomatoes to speed ripening.
I sometimes spritz the fruit with a bit of chamomile tea to discourage mold and place a small bowl of apple cider vinegar nearby to draw away any late fruit flies. You can also try ripening some of the tomatoes in a sunny window sill, which is a time-honored tradition in many garden homes.
Be ready with your green tomato harvest, and you will be rewarded with sparkling results in the flavor department as they ripen.
Green tomatoes going in my harvest box this year will include hybrid beefsteaks, heirloom Juliette plums (a huge success in our garden), and any current, German yellow cherries, and purple Russians that need more time to ripen, as the nights turn cold.