It’s hard to believe, but another vegetable gardening season is winding down.  It is late September; many of the beds are bare, and there is a sense of urgency to ripen the last fruiting crops, especially tomatoes.  All of the determinate plum tomato plants are in the compost pile, but I still have some indeterminate tomatoes slowly ripening – excruciatingly slow.

THE TOMATO PATCH IN LATE SUMMER

THE TOMATO PATCH SEVERELY PRUNED IN MID SEPTEMBER

In order to encourage these few stragglers, I have severely pruned the plants and culled out some of the fruit.  Each surviving plant has been fertilized as well.  We have been averaging one ripe tomato every few days, so the effort does produce results.

A “MADAME MARMANDE” TOMATO TAKING IT’S SWEET TIME VINE RIPENING

This procedure has also been done to our two “Matt’s Wild Cherry” tomato plants.  At some point in early August, I run out of patience with these plants and let them be their wild selves.  In late September, I take my revenge.  It typically takes a good hour/hour and a half to tame these suckers.  Given that they are always the last plants standing,  going until the first killing frost, it is worth the effort.

“MATT’S WILD CHERRY” TOMATO PLANTS BEFORE FALL PRUNING

Because of their thin skins and superior taste, “Matt’s Wild Cherry” tomatoes have been grown in my garden every year for the last couple of decades.

“MATT’S WILD CHERRY” TOMATO PLANTS AFTER LATE SEPTEMBER PRUNING

A parting word:  Every extra day of being able to make a sandwich that includes a slice of vine ripened tomato is a gift.

All the best,

Greg Garnache                                                                                                                          gcgarnache@gmail.com