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Tomatoes: Late-Season Harvest and Storage Techniques

Tomatoes: Late-Season Harvest and Storage Techniques

After weeks of growing tomatoes in your garden, whether you live in a warm or cool climate, you'll have to think about harvesting and storing dozens of plump tomatoes. Below are some tips and techniques to make the most out of your abundant tomato crop.

Re-direct Plant Energy: First off, pick any tomatoes that are beginning to change color ("blushing"). Blushing tomatoes will ripen nicely on the counter and in taste tests, tasters could not tell the difference between a vine-ripened or counter-ripened tomato. If you are within a few weeks of the first frost, clip off all remaining blossoms. You can also cut the roots on two sides of the plant with a shovel, by plunging a shovel about 8 inches from the stem on each side. This will force the plants to channel all energy into ripening the existing fruits.

Frost Protection: To protect your tomato plants through the first few light frosts, you can cover them at night with a blanket, a frost cloth, or a piece of thick plastic that drapes all the way to the ground. If fully vine-ripened tomatoes are what you are after, and warmer weather is in the forecast, it will be worth the effort. However, if the weather will stay cool from this point on and if your tomatoes are too immature, they may not ripen. If a hard frost, below 28

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