I've tried this version of harvesting tomato seeds with great results. It's messy, but definitely worth it!
There have been a lot of questions lately about tomatoes still being on the vine and having been touched by frost. Depending on how bad the frost was, this might not totally decimate your crop. However, if you go out and the tomatoes are shriveled and mushy, you've unfortunately lost the last of your harvest. While they won't be toxic if touched by a light frost, they may no longer have the texture that you would prefer.
It's always best to pick the last of your tomatoes before frost hits. You can always take your green tomatoes indoors and let them ripen on your counter.
If you have a lot of green tomatoes, wrap them individually in newspaper, or place them in layers in a box with newspaper in between. Make sure they are not touching, as that way if one goes bad, the rest shouldn't be affected.
Be sure to check them regularly!! This is a mistake I tend to make as time passes. Then you suddenly look and have a very large quantity of ripe (or over-ripe) tomatoes to deal with.
Covering tomatoes in the garden:
If you are only expecting a very light frost, with a long period of Indian Summer afterward, cover the plants with plastic, sheets, cardboard - whatever you have. Be sure to tuck in the plastic and sheets around the bottom, as frost creeps along the ground.
Red Tomato Teepees, Set of 3 (click product name for details)
Jump-start your tomato growing season with red-hot teepees. With these protective cones, you can plant tomatoes up to 6 weeks earlier, and be harvesting by early July! The water-filled teepees regulate temperature, soaking up heat during the day and releasing it at night. Without the stress of weather extremes, plants can put their energy into producing fruit. Use for tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Individual channels ensure that teepee won't deflate if one tube is punctured. Lasts for years.
Frost Protection Cover (click product name for details)
Protect your plants from the first fall frosts with this convenient polypropylene cover. Drawstrings cinch it tight on either end to enclose a Tomato Success Kit or other frost-sensitive patio plants. Frost cover protects our Tomato Success Kit and extends the harvest season into fall. Can also be used on other patio plants. Sold individually. Spun polypropylene 55" W x 47" H. Protects down to temperatures 26 degrees F. Allows 70% light transmission.
NEW FROST COVERS just added to the Store: click here for details
For those of you lucky enough to live in warmer climates, it is time to start your tomato plants. The sheer variety of tomato seeds now available is absolutely astounding. Everything from hardy heritage seeds to rare and exotic variations from all around the world. A quick look into the Tomato Store will give you over 100 different types of tomato seeds to choose from.
Once you have your selection of seeds at hand, look at the length of time until maturation. You want to make sure that the time when your plants will be ready to set out into the garden coincides with warmer nights when the temperature doesn't drop below 45F or 7C. Starting your tomato seeds approximately 6 weeks before this would be ideal.
You can start seeds in everything from egg cartons to fancy germinating trays. The main thing is to keep the seeds moist, but not molding, with bright light during the day and cool temperatures at night. If the night temperature is too warm, your plants will shoot up too quickly and be thin and spindly. The How To Grow Tomatoes From Seed section will give you all the details, as well as some products you might like.
From there, just follow the links at the bottom of the page from starting your seeds, through transplanting into larger pots, setting your tomatoes out into the garden, helpful hints on staking and pruning, right through to tomato plant pests and diseases.
As the summer draws to a close, one of the most common questions that I hear is, "When should I pick all my tomatoes?"
Tomatoes definitely love warm weather, and don't like frost in the least. So the time to pick all tomatoes is before the first frost.
Yes, you can try and cover the plants to extend the growing season - especially if they are in a warm location such as the corner of the house, and you are expecting a couple more weeks of continued warm weather. Blankets, bed sheets, plastic, and tarps all work - as long as you remember to tuck the fabric into the soil at the bottom so the cold air doesn't get in. You can also use one of the tomato covers currently sold at gardening shops.
But if you want to be sure your tomatoes are safe, simply pick them. They will ripen on your kitchen counter.
If you have large quantities of tomatoes, place them in layers in a cardboard box.
I must admit that in the past I have forgotten to check regularly and found that all of a sudden I needed to make a huge pot of spaghetti sauce - NOW.
If that should happen to you, there are lots free online tomato recipes, as well as tasty tomato cookbooks on the Tomato Recipes page.
My name is Sara and I've always loved photography, country life, animals, books, and an unhurried, peaceful lifestyle.