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3 Reasons Your Tomatoes Won’t Ripen

It’s the end of July, you planted your tomatoes over 2 months ago & the seed packet said you’d be able to harvest fruit in 60 days – why aren’t your tomatoes ripening & turning red?

There could be a few different factors playing a role in the ripening. But why do tomatoes turn red anyways?

  1. Temperature – This is the biggest factor in your tomatoes ripening. Here in Ohio, we typically don’t plant until around Mother’s Day. 60 days later we are expecting tomatoes; during the hottest time of the year. For the last week it has been over 90 degrees. The chemicals that make tomatoes red – lycopene & carotene – are only produced when the temperature is 50-85°F. If you’re outside of this range, the ripening process is on hold until you get some relief from the heat!
  2. Size/Variety – Size does matter when it comes to tomatoes ripening! I have already harvested some cherry tomatoes from rogue plants that grew from last year, but those Beefsteak tomatoes have got a ways to go! Patience, young grasshopper.20170723_180037
  3. Maturity Level – A little different from the previous point and maybe this seems a little common sense. Maturity is more than just the time a tomato spends on the vine. Again, the ripening process comes down to natural chemicals. When a tomato reaches maturity, it begins producing ethylene which then reacts with the tomatoes to cause them to turn red. You can use this knowledge to save any tomatoes that may have accidentally gotten knocked off the vine – put tomatoes in a paper bag & if they’re mature enough, they should produce ethylene and ripen over a few days.20170723_175729

Tomatoes are a tough crop to grow, but with a little patience & cooperation from Mother Nature, you can have salsa all summer! If you have any questions on How to Grow Tomatoes – check my guide here!


12 thoughts on “3 Reasons Your Tomatoes Won’t Ripen

  1. We have found that good hygiene (cleaning our tomato cages before planting) and pruning (bottom branches that tend fade and trap moisture) keep our plant in good shape until the season for harvest. Then it is a matter of keeping up with the ripening fruit. – Oscar

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog which inevitably led me to yours. Wish I had your great info last year when my tomatoes were taking forever to ripen. Hopefully, I won’t have the same problem this year but with all the rain and severe temp drops, the problems may be something else again. Still, gardening is a joy. All the best to you in yours!

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog as well! Im hoping we don’t have the same issues this year either but that’s the beauty of gardening – no matter how much you prepare, there’s always a new set of challenges to overcome

  3. Wow! Your tomatoes are really big already.

    1. That was actually a post from last year but I’ll get some current pictures in my next blog! And I’m on Instagram if you wanna see what all we have growing on 😁

  4. Your tomatoes look great. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Thank you – happy I could help!

  5. Great article!

    1. Thank you so much!

  6. Weather is killing our food this year. First colder than normal spring. Follow that up with hotter than normal late spring/early summer. Ugly winds lead to a wicked triple tornado covering about 5 counties here in northeastern Colorado. On in the massive cloud hit us head on. The house was left mostly intact, the the rest of the farm is trashed. Between the winds and the softball size hail – the gardens were flattened. I have learned how to garden all naturally. Companion planting, friendly “good” bugs, shade cloth where/when needed, but there is nothing we could do that would have prevented or protected from this. Our 86’x32′ sunken greenhouse completely lost its roof this year. The twister took out several of the screwed in 2x12x10′ boards that surround the base. Luckily, the main metal structure is still intact (that was all secured when we built it by a 3-foot high, in-ground base wall (you have to step 2 steps down to get into the greenhouse). So we did all we could to protect as much as we could, but mother nature had other plans. I love hearing stories (especially the pics) of others with my same passion for gardening still going strong. You give me strength to keep on going – THANK YOU!!!

    1. Wow, that is such a wild & horrible turn of events! Im happy that you got some inspiration from my story but yours is incredibly inspiring! Thank you for sharing – hope you have a better finish to the year than the start

      1. Me too…just got hit on 7/29 by a tornado…2nd in my life…pretty sure i would LOVE to have a boring life for a while🤣🤣🤣

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