British Columbia: Tomatoes grow wild and never ripen

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by davesmunroe, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. davesmunroe

    davesmunroe Member

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    I'm trying to avoid repeating mistakes of the last growing season. I had a number of cherry tomato varieties I was experimenting with in a south facing, mostly sunny yard (about 2 hrs of shade in mid afternoon from a tree on the south side).

    I had 4 tomato plants, which all grew about 7-8' high, as I kept them trimmed to a single stalk by trimming the suckers off. The plants produced 100s of tomatoes, but only a handful of them ripened. The fruit kept growing bigger and bigger right through late September, but stayed green right until the plants died off.

    Is the lack of full afternoon sun preventing the ripening? It seemed odd to me considering how well the plants grew otherwise.
     
  2. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Last year the summer weather was excellent for ripening tomatoes. All of mine ripened, mainly on the vine, or the last ones after bringing them inside. Most of my cherry tomatoes were Sweet Million; so I know that variety will ripen here. You should make sure that you only plant early varieties. It also helps to plant them as early as possible, preferably with some protection initially. I always start my tomatoes under a cloche, which gets removed after the plants are about 2' high. They receive no protection after that.
     
  3. davesmunroe

    davesmunroe Member

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    Thanks vitog - Sweet Million was one of the varieties I had used (I had two other cherry varieties which I can't remember as well as an heirloom plant). Perhaps I did plant too late? I usually start indoors in early May and transfer outside around the May long weekend.

    How early do you plant? I'll try your suggestion of protection for the first while to see if that helps. Perhaps I'll stick to the sweet million as well, if that fares well with our climate.
     
  4. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I try to plant tomatoes outside by the end of April but don't always start the seedlings early enough. By using a cloche, I've never lost any tomatoes to late frosts. I'd like to plant them out in early April and replace the cloche with a floating row cover in May. On a few occasions the plants have suffered from heat damage under a cloche in May.
     
  5. Konachick

    Konachick Active Member

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    Wow Vitog! What type of cloche do you use? Heavy clear plastic? Also, do you set up the cloche ahead of time to warm the soil?

    I'm intrigued by this because (as I just posted in another thread) I am not planning on planting out my tomatoes until the first week of June, but perhaps I will try one of my early seedlings under a cloche... if it doesn't make it, I can transplant the others later as planned.
     
  6. davesmunroe

    davesmunroe Member

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    Thanks Vitog,

    Do you start from seed indoors then transplant under the cloche? Or are you direct sowing under the cloche?
     
  7. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Yes, I start seeds indoors before transplanting. I rarely have the time to set up the cloche ahead of time, but it would be a good idea to do that. I use a hoop cloche with 2 mil plastic and hoops made out of anything free and available. "Ribs" cut off from the nailing end of scrap vinyl siding make excellent hoops at least up to a diameter of 1.2 m.
     
  8. blueberry

    blueberry Member

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    Try reducing/cutting the water late summer/early fall. The tomato plants will try to ripen off the fruit when they have less water. I'll start reducing my water late August once I have enough unripe fruit.
     

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