Posted: 14/09/2012 at 16:14
Ah, now I get the picture.
The chimney-pot plants have a big advantage over those in containers. By the time they get down into the soil they've developed very good root structure. Plants in containers will always have hindered root structure. But the blight difference is a matter of luck. All plants are susceptible, no matter how they're planted.
Taking off the tops, flowers, small fruit, etc, doesn't hasten the ripening process. Ripening is purely down to temperature. Optimum ripening temperatures are anything above low-20sC. The lower you go, the longer it takes. And, as soon as the toms start to turn from their very darkest green, the plant pretty much shuts off moisture to the fruit anyway.