Ripening Green Tomatoes & Seed Germination

Question:

 I’m ready to compost what's left of my tomato plants, but they're some nice size, green tomatoes. Is there a way I can ripen the green tomatoes? I just hate to throw them away.

Answer:

  • It never fails; some of the best tomatoes are left on the vines at the end of the season.
  • And yes, green tomatoes can be successfully ripened off the vines in a simple ripening chamber.
  • This is a pretty simple technique using any cardboard box or plastic container with a lid. The lid is critical as it traps the ethylene gas given off by the ripening tomatoes. This naturally occurring gas is used to accelerate the ripening of the immature/green fruits.
    • The bottom of the container is lined with a thick pad of newspaper or wool blanket. The tomatoes are evenly spaced on the newspaper, but don't let them touch each other as rotting can occur. You monitor the tomatoes every five to seven days, removing the ripe ones. There can be multiple layers in a single box, separated by a layer of newspapers.
    • But, I wouldn't have any more than two layers in any container, as it's challenging to check on the ripening tomatoes on the bottom layer.
    • The boxes are stored in the garage or outside under covered areas and out of the direct sunlight. It's unfortunate; gardeners overlook this simple technique to extend the fresh tomato season.

Question:

We regularly put seedlings by a large window to get some indirect sunlight before they are ready to go outside. It works great. However, during the winter, the window that brings the best sun is the bathroom window. It's very sunny, but it’s not clear glass but privacy glass. Would the seedlings be okay there, or should I not waste my time?

Answer:

  • I can't think of a problem using privacy glass with the seedlings.
  • The direct sunlight would be indirect and bright, as you said. So, I expect you'd be just fine.