On Mon, 28 Jul 2003 02:05:06 GMT, "Cecelia Medbery"
Same situation here, for the third summer in a row. I don't
know - of course - what the problem is in your case, but I
think I know what it is here.
I wrote to our extension agent, and received an interesting
He said (paraphrased) that the 'maturity dates' given on
seed packets are delayed by four days each time the *average
temperature in a 24 hour period* is below 70.
(I'd assume this cannot be a hard-and-fast thing, but must
be an 'average'.)
Well, we have cool nights here. The *average* temperature
for most of the summer *is* going to be below 70. Say, it's
80 in the daytimes, and 50 at night: this gives an average
temperature for the 24-hour period of 65. Ooops. Delayed
The tomatoes will eventually ripen but this may not happen
until *after* the first frost date (first week in October
here) - in other words, it may never happen.
We are in the mountains in northern PA, and - for the most
part - have very pleasant, enjoyable summers. Non-ripening
of tomatoes is the price we pay for the cool summers.
My husband and I are building a hoophouse (unheated
greenhouse) shortly, and next summer I plan to grow my
tomatoes in the hoophouse to give them some protection from
the cool nights. I hope this will work much better. It's
not the only reason I want a hoophouse, but it's one of the
I'd sort of figured (informally) that the tomatoes don't
like the cool nights.... anyway, this rather explains it,
You know: this year, I started my tomatoes from seed. I
transplanted the first two plants (Early Girls) into the
garden in WalloWaters on May 8. MAY 8!
They were LARGE plants by then, I'd transplanted them
several times and they were about 18" tall, and stocky.
Here it is July 28 and no ripe tomatoes! Early Girl is
supposed to ripen in 59 days after transplanting (according
to Burpee's catalog).
Mine were transplanted to the garden about 80 days ago...
and they were much larger than most transplants when I set
them out. No ripe tomatoes yet.
It will be interesting to see if the hoophouse improves
I wonder if anyone in the NG who experienced the cold wet spring has
ripe tomatoes. All my tomatoes aren't ripe yet...I thought I messed
up, too much nitrogen or such.
My "4th of July" (Burpee, 49 days) and "Healthy Kick Plum" (Burpee,75
days) are in ground 70! days. All still needs to grow some and are
green or whitish green. My "Burpee Burger" (72) and "Big Mama" (80)
are also behind. I don't expect either to harvest for ..im guessing ..
How long do tomatoes take to ripen, once it starts to change color?
DiGiTAL ViNYL (no email)
Zone 6b/7, Westchester Co, NY, 1 mile off L.I.Sound
1st Year Gardener
Hehe don't feel too bad buddy my Health Kicks didn't even survive. I got the
4th of July's in the ground around May 8th, got my first ripe fruit from
them about 2 weeks ago. My roommate has started calling them the August 1st
tomatoes to make fun of me hehe. I am sure this has to do with some luck,
but mostly weather. Something rather odd is that one of my Big Mama tomatoes
is almost ripe, but ONLY one! The rest are still very much green and show no
sign of ripening. One of the Brandy Boy's is just starting to ripen. I
actually got my first ripe fruit from the Sugar Snack cherries (I keep
calling them Sweet Treats), and now the plant is producing at least a few
fruit each day, the 4th of July producing 1 or 2 ripes every other day.
The Burpee Burger is just now showing signs of ripening, and still only one
On Fri, 01 Aug 2003 14:05:12 GMT, "Mike Stevenson"
Contrary to everyone's doleful outdoor-tomato experiences
this year, we've had really nice results with the Red Robins
that have been growing indoors on our big bay window ledge.
These are true miniatures, mine are in 6" pots. A slightly
larger pot would be nice, but they'll manage in 6" pots.
We have nine plants - yesterday, I picked 20 cherry-sized
tomatoes from them. This is plenty for one good-sized
helping of tossed salad...We have about that many to pick
today as well.
The Red Robins have been producing very nicely for quite a
while now, maybe a month or six weeks. I think they're
determinate plants and therefore won't produce fruit
indefinitely, but they've surely been fine so far.
These have a terrific flavor, IMHO - they have the 'real
old-fashioned tomato taste'. They aren't as sweet as some
Seeds are available from Shumway:
I'm starting seeds for more of these and for Yellow Canary
(indeterminate) in a day or two - for growing on into the
I don't know if tomatoes are day-length sensitive or not:
if they are, I can supplement the natural lights with a
fluorescent light or two.
If anyone *does* know whether or not tomatoes are day-length
sensitive, would you please post it? Thanks.
They'll just get real leggy if they have to reach for light. My
cousin grows 'maters in her south facing window all winter long
up here in Alaska. (And peppers.) We get down to about 7 hours
of real daylight at winter solstice (Dec. 21) at this latitude, so
tomatoes must not be too picky about day-length. I know Bernie
doesn't use any grow lights, but her south facing window is big
and doesn't have any obstructions (trees/shrubs) shading it.
She grows indeterminates, that threaten to take her living room
over by spring. (Winter lasts from Halloween to May Day here.)
On Fri, 08 Aug 2003 04:35:02 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org (Jan
Thanks, Jan. That's good to know. We have a huge bay
window facing southeast, and our days aren't as short as
yours so my winter tomatoes should be OK.
I'm starting indeterminate seeds - mini-plants - Yellow
Canary. I'll also start a few more Red Robins for winter,
they are determinate, but have been very productive for me.
In the big bay window, I'll have:
Spicy Globe Bush Basil
Yellow Canary Tomatoes (miniature plants)
Red Robin Tomatoes (miniature plants)
A miniature pepper - I forget the variety name at the moment
Tom Thumb Lettuce
My big rosemary plant (can't survive winter outdoors)
Cilantro - I grow cilantro indoors a lot
Anyway, that's the theory. The window ledge is 8' x 2', so
I think all those plants will fit there. I have plant
shelves with fluorescent lights too, in case some don't fit.
I'll be starting my indoor winter tomatoes tonight, along with
stuff that'll go out in the greenhouse when the 'maters are done
For the kitchen window, I'm starting:
Siberia tomato - 2-1/2' tall plant
Gold Nugget tomato - compact determinate
Oregon Spring - compact determinate
Northern Lights - same, same
Grandpa's something or other Pepper - a cute plant w/semi-hot peppers
I'm going to cut a couple of slips off the Tumbler tomato that's
been on the windowsill, cranking out 'maters since May, and see
if I can keep that going.
Several sweet basil plants have been doing great on the
windowsill all summer. They'll usually last all winter, if I
keep the blooms picked off.
For the greenhouse, I'm starting more lettuce, sweet peas, snow peas,
broccali, radishes, and whatever else looks good. It's an unheated
greenhouse, so far. (That could change.)
On Mon, 18 Aug 2003 22:17:56 -0800, email@example.com (Jan
We have the most annoying windows in this house - quite new
ones, installed just before we bought the house. The
window-sills are only about 4" wide AND there's a ridge down
the middle of them, God knows why. NOTHING will go on them.
I do have the big bay window ledge, which is about 8' x 2',
but I cannot use any other window sills.
Sills sloping from the middle, or a ridge poking up in the middle
(weird in either case)? Could you shim them somehow? Even double-faced
tape and laths might work. What about an arrangement like those cat
platforms that cantilever from a windowsill? I have one plant shelf
that hangs from the middle of a double-hung (never opened in living
memory) window. It should also be possible to suspend shelves from the
top of a window frame, if you don't mind screwing in a couple of
A ridge poking up from the middle. A sticking-up ridge
along the length of the window sill, in the middle of the
width of the sill. It's not wood: these windows are made
of some sort of composite or plastic, I don't know what.
They're 'integral storm windows' - two layers of glass.
That part is good. And they tip in for cleaning all
surfaces, that part is also good.
The cat-shelf idea would work. I forgot, though - when I
wrote my prior post - that we also have a cat. :) This
makes plants-on-a-cat-shelf impractical.
The [shelves going across the upper part of the window]
aren't practical either, darn it, because we cover the
insides of most windows with clear plastic in winter (to
save on heating costs).
Hanging plants would work well, though, I'll probably do
that this winter.
"Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of
supply and demand. It is the privilege of human beings to
Can you lay something on the windowsills to shim them up to level,
so pots can sit on them? I'm thinking of blueboard (insulation) just
because it's easy to cut. How high is the ridge in the middle of the
sills? (What a PITA, btw!!) Could you get something and cut a kerf
down the middle of it, so it'll straddle that ridge and be a level surface?
My windowsills are all 8" wide, because we still live in the basement
(sore subject -- the upstairs two floors are dried-in, but unfinished),
and our basement walls are cinderblock. Hence, wide windowsills.
It's like living in a bunker in the winter, but it's warm...
You're going to go nuts when you get that built. Leave yourself
room for a comfy chair and a place to put a cup of coffee. And a
radio, so you can listen to NPR while you fuss with your plants : )
Oh, and use your *verticle* space. I want to scream when I see
people only using the bottom 3' of greenhouse space, and not growing
vining varieties, hanging plants or anything. =:-O
In my previous house, I screwed in those adjustable-shelf thingies on both
sides of several windows -- the metal things with little slots all the way
up. You then hang a metal bracket in the slots, match it up on the other
side, and put a board across the brackets.
I put a lip around each of the boards by nailing on trim strip, mitred at
the corners, but it's not absolutely necessary.
I got 4 shelves marching up each of 3 windows, and put plants, glassware,
and cats in them. Well, the cats put themselves...
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. USA
the one was such a tease! The flavor was not that strong. I'm going
to let the others sit on the vine an extra day or two after turning
red. I should have more by tomorrow, but they're smaller than I
expected. I was thinking they were the 2" vine-cluster tomatoes I
often see at grocers. However the largest in a cluster is about 1 1/2"
round(same as the one I ate). It was more like a x-large cherry.
More snackable than sliceable.
Are your 4ths about 1 1/2" diameter?
My Health Kicks are whitish green. I keep waiting for that bush to
stop growing. Since it is determinate I'm expecting a lot of tomatoes
at once. A friend suggested a tomato-eating party. Most still need to
put on some size in my mind.
My neighbor has some grapes that are beginning to turn, but everything
else is green or no fruit. He's got about 9 different varieties. They
haven't done well this year. The grape tomato vine only has about 8 on
it total. I think his ground has too much clay and sand. Poke a stick
in it and you leave a perfect mold of the stick behind. No crumbling,
Do you know if Burpee Burger is determinate or indeterminate?
I bought it as a plant and the website doesn't say. I've got eight all
green. The lower leaves were decimated by some problems but it is
growing again. I treating it as a determinate.
DiGiTAL ViNYL (no email)
Zone 6b/7, Westchester Co, NY, 1 mile off L.I.Sound
1st Year Gardener
Don't know where you are, but here in Southern California, with the
"June Gloom" we had this year, is my tomato scorecard:
Three Early Girls plants, which normally have many ripe fruits by June:
Two (small) ripe tomatoes by last week (Aug 4), plus maybe three more
small in a couple of weeks.
Lots of Romas (normal crop).
Three yellow tomato plants (don't have the name): maybe 10 ripe tomatoes
so far, maybe 10 more before the end of the season. (Delicious, by the way)
Maybe two dozen cherry tomatoes from 6 plants (a few more to come).
It's a meager year.
But I thank God for whatever harvest we got. After all, I couldn't have
done it myself...
Up here in Seattle my tomato plants (2) are doing
surprisingly well: the better boy had 4 ripe ones last
week with a dozen more expected within a week or so;
the early girl in a portable container had one, and a few
more are expected in a couple of week.
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