It's that time of the season where the beautiful garden is reaching its height of productivity. Each week, new veggies mature and are ready to harvest and new color is dotting the growing beds each day. Such beauty and excitement! It's also the time of the season that you might be a bit frustrated with the apparent stubborness of all those green tomatoes just sitting on the vine. Why does it seem to take forever for tomatoes to ripen? Well, there's a good reason why it seems to take so long.
Once the tomatoes start to emerge from the
blossoms, it takes about 35 to 50 days for the tomatoes to reach full size (calle the "mature green" stage). Once reaching mature green, it can take several more weeks to over a month for the tomato ripen; the length of time really depends on temperature
The ideal temperature range for a tomato to ripen is from 68 to 77 degrees; as the temperatures stray on both ends of this range, it takes more time for ripening to play out. If it gets above 85 degrees, the tomatoe does not produce carotene and lycopene which are two of the pigments responsible for the color of the tomatoe. Also consider how hard the plant is working - not only is it trying to ripen all the tomatoes on the vines, it is still producing new growth, new vines, new blossoms as well as expanding its roots system below the soil's surface.
So, now that you are aware of all the factors that come in to play with getting that tomatoe to go from green to red (or yellow or orange), perhaps we need to ease off a bit on the poor plant and be a little more patient for our ripe tomatoes....just a little ;)