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Hi, Starting from the point I don’t know what I’m doing!!! I have had a go at growing tomato’s this year. Anyway the plants seemed to grow very well although I would say that not as many tomato’s as I would have thought for their size, but the key issue that is concerning me at the moment is none have turned red yet!


Some are looking a good size but I am wondering how long they can be left outside for as the temperatures are now starting to drop? I’ve got three tomato plants of different varieties in one grow bag.


I still have some flowers on them and there are also some very small tomato’s starting to develop.


Really any advice on growing tomato’s will be of help.


If I cut the larger tomato’s from the plant will they ripen indoors and where would be best to leave them?


Many thanks



Ive had quite a few suggestions from my dad on this.

Bananas (they release ethylene) can be placed in with the plants or fruits, this helps to ripen them.

I have cut down a couple of plants and hung the tomatos in the greenhouse, these have already produced ripe fruit and are the back end plants.

Some are still out in the garden and are still rippening, but they are progressing.

Also make sure to continue to feed them.


Guy, ripening is down to temperature. Toms don't need direct sunlight to ripen. Optimum temperatures are low-20sC and above. The lower the temp, the longer they will take.

You need to take overnight temps into account too. If your daytime temps get down to low teens and your overnight temps into single figures, you're better off taking them off the plant and ripening them inside. Put them anywhere warm - remember they don't need sunlight - and safe. And sit them upside down on their shoulders. It minimises the chances to bruising the flesh in contact with a hard surface.

Feeding the toms at this stage won't help them in the slightest. They've done their growing. Ripening is an internal chemical process that happens independently of the plant. Any fertilising you do might aid other, more immature toms on the plant, and, this late in the season, they probably won't make it anyway. Better to save your fertiliser for next season.

Thanks for the information and help. I have taken the larger tomatos inside. One of the types were Black Russians and never having  had these before I'm not sure if this is how they are meant to look. On the bottom they seem to have splits and/or have holes in them. First though was insects eating into them but then due to the brownish band and the 'holes' being connected to them is this just natural?

Photo attached.





No, Guy, that's called "cat-facing". Very common with tomatoes. It's usually as a result of pollination happening in cooler weather and pretty much restricted to larger varieties. For want of a better description, it's a bit like a hernia.

Those wee holes and the brown-ish tissue between the segments are part and parcel of the syndrome. "Cat-facing" doesn't affect the taste of the tomato in any way. Just cut out the brown-ish tissue when you come to eat the toms.



I had similar problems to you Guy (re not ripening) so a couple of weeks ago I took all the tomatoes off the plants, placed them in a big dish on a shelf in the kitchen and forgot about them and they began to ripen slowly but surely.  


Best idea if the temps are dropping outside, tattianna. They're not quite as nice as naturally ripened, but a ripe tom is a ripe tom!


Yes that's what I thought Italophile. It did start getting quite cold here and they were out in the garden and if I'm honest I got fed up with looking at them hangling there all green. I'm happy with them 

Many thanks again for the information Italophile. Glad to hear that I will still be able to eat them!



No probs, Guy. The one wee problem it creates is when trying to slice them horizontally from the bottom end. You end up with segments rather than a whole slice until you get past the affected area.

The biggest problem with the autumnal weather we've had in the UK for the last week I've found is that the heavy rain has split some of the toms - although I've been pretty pleased with this year's harvest so far (so different to 2012). I was close to thinking I'd pick everything and ripen them indoors - but then I see London is forecast 23C by the weekend...

Yes I noticed one of mine had split around the top - Thought it might have been the cold, but it was probably the rain then.

thanks for the info, i also have grown toms this year for the first time, and all above applys to my situation.


Yes, a sudden increase in moisture can cause them to split. The toms absorb the moisture, expanding ever so slightly, but enough to split the skin that can't expand quickly enough to accommodate it. The same thing can happen if plants receive a lot of sudden moisture after the soil has dried out.


Yes, we've got a lot of rain forecast today and most of my outdoor tomatoes are nearly ripe, so I'll pick them all and bring them indoors to finish off before the rain starts. 

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