By JOE LAMP’L
I’ve been hearing from many impatient gardeners lately. They all have the same question; “My tomatoes are big and green on the vine, but they just don’t seem to be getting ripe. What’s happened?!?”
If you stop and think about it, tomato plants have a lot going on at the same time. While they are ripening fruit, they are still putting on new growth to support future tomato fruit. And tomato plants are equipped to handle this multi-tasking quite well. That is as long as things are status quo, such as favorable climates and plenty of spring showers to create perfect tomato growing conditions.
However, as we experience drastic changes in weather as I suspect is true with many parts of the country, plants bear the burden. The perfect spring weather, so pleasing to tomato plant growth, suddenly hits the heat of summer. Tomato plants are abruptly faced with demands that require a change in how they grow and how their energy must be distributed. One of the first responses is for shallow rooted tomato plants to develop a deeper, more robust root system.
Tomato plants are quite adaptable and they will adjust to this sudden change. But, until the plant has made these adjustments, the green tomatoes will appear to just sit there. The beautiful red color of a ripe tomato seems like it will never come. Fortunately, it will, although it takes longer because of these changes. So, staying power is all that is required of you and some supplemental water is all that is needed by your tomato plants while they adjust to these changes. Consider it delayed gratification. You will be rewarded for your patience!