Picking Tomatoes During February In Loredo Texas

Filed Under: Vegetables, Vine Plants · Keywords: When, Picking, Harvesting, Tomatoes, February, Laredo, Texas · 1245 Views
I have some tomatoes that seem to be taking forever to ripen. I know it's February but we have had some very nice sunny and warm (78+) days in Laredo for the past month. Should I pick them and let them ripen off the vine?

Also, should this plant continue producing through the summer if we don't get a freeze? By the way, I did not plant this. It seems to have begun to grow on its own as I was working my soil to improve it. Weird, huh?
Thanks.


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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Nice looking plant and fruit. I think with a little patience and continued warm days and night they will ripen. You might try ripening some off the vine especially if you expect any cold weather. Let me know how you make out.

5 years ago ·
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Answer #1 · Gardenality.com's Answer · Hi Rafael - Your tomato plant probably sprouted from a seed? This often happens from one year to the next in my own garden. I'm not an authority by any means on growing tomato plants...mainly because I don't like to eat them that much...so am not absoultely sure whether or not you should pick the tomatoes or leave them to ripen on the vine. Though tomato plants are a vegetable that can handle a little cooler weather than peppers, eggplant, and some other vegetables, it's probably cooler nighttime temps that are slowing the ripening process? If the weather forecast says more of the same 78+ temps, I'd think you could let them ripen on the vine. You might try picking a couple fruits to see what happens. Sorry I couldn't provide more info...but I've just never grown tomato plants outdoors during February. Keep us posted on what you do and how it works out.

Brent)



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Answer #2 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Rafael-Like Brent mentioned fluctuation in temperatures this time of year can slow the ripening process. Like Brent I haven't grown many tomatoes as I'm not one that likes them other than when making my spaghetti and meat balls. They most likely will ripen in time but it may take some patience on your part. A few things you can do to help with the ripening is reduce the water they may be getting. Have you had any rain this year? Disease this late in the season is more prevalent with too much moisture. You don't want too wet a soil. You can prune off some of the lower leaves or any that are not healthy looking or brown. This will help the plant put more of its energy into the fruit and the ripening process. I would also prune off any long limbs that are not producing at this time and pinch off any flowers that most likely won't set this late in the year. All this helps the plant put its energy into the fruit. If you have a good crop I would pick off any of the smaller fruit and possibly a number of other fruit in hopes that the plant again will put its energy into a few nicer ripening tomatoes. If the tomatoes have grown near what you believe is their mature size again it is best to back off on the amount of water they may be getting. The fruit will ripen more quickly when the soil is more towards the dry side than too wet. If the temperatures start to drop or there is quite a defference between the day time temps and night you can cover the plants with plastic which will keep the plants warmer at night also helping to continue with the ripening process. If your tomatoes are mature enough you may want to try and ripen some of them off the vine. I noted below a link to an article by the Oregon State University Extension service on ripening tomatoes off the vine.

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/node/922

Although normally grown as an annual it is possible your plants could produce for another season as long as they are not subjected to colder weather with any night time freezing temperatures. If your weather stays warm you could try cutting out several of the older stems leaving two or three of the new ones to develop in the spring. Unless the day and nightime temperatures aren't staying at least above 65 or 70 degrees I would rather start with new plants in the spring.

Hopefully this has helped.

John)



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