Gardening, Harvesting & Preserving/ My Home

Operation Tomato

It was time to try and rescue some of my tomatoes, the night time temps here in Alberta are falling  FAR below 10 degrees at night (that’s Celsius) with daytime temperatures consistently not reaching much past plus 15.

When I woke up this morning, out here in the burbs, it was plus 5. Brrrr.

Tomatoes get very, very mad in this kind of weather. They will walk into your house, slap you for your impudence, then settle down where it’s warmer. Or just wilt and die on you.

I have been hoping since the cold, cold end of August we had here that we would get a burst of heat in September, as we have some years.


I gave up today. It’s not going to happen. What happened to the beautiful hot autumns we used to get?

So I tested out 4 tomatoes and put them on my windowsill to ripen, which they did beautifully.


There is a longstanding argument over whether you should ripen them on a windowsill or covered up in the darkness.

I can’t taste the difference. I have done the cupboard ripening and they tasted great. That process took three weeks, so I think it’s a great way to lengthen your ripening time.

There are theories that the seeds inside are what that ripen it, that once taken off the vines they need no sunlight, that you need the ethylene from say, bananas to help ripen them.

What I do know is that they turn red on my windowsill. And that everyone under the sun will argue with you over the method that works best.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Fast ripening-windowsill.

Slower ripening – cold storage covered with newspaper with plenty of space between them.

Now, I actually want these to ripen as fast as possible so I can do some canning with them. They are a motley looking bunch but I am hopeful.

And not only are the temperatures dropping, blight is spreading in Edmonton. Sure, it’s not going to be for much longer, but I have such a poor yield that I am not risking these tomatoes at all.


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  • Reply
    September 18, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Fearing tomato blight and a hard frost (Edmonton got both this week) I picked all the tomatoes from my back yard a couple of nights ago. I only for a dew ripe tomatoes this year – but I have 5 grocery bins (the superstore size) full of green ones in my basement now! I will try out the faster ripening windowsill theory; I wonder where I might find a windowsill large enough to accommodate a grocery bin full…easy and delicious green tomato recipes welcome!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    I brought mine in….all seven of them. That’s all I got this year. =(

  • Reply
    September 13, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I had to bring mine in after hurricane Earl collapsed all of the plants-even with the props that I had holding them up. If you get sick of waiting for the tomatoes to ripen, I’ve got a great recipe for green tomato chow!

    • Reply
      September 13, 2010 at 8:52 pm

      Oooh email it to me, I still have some green tomatoes outside I can use!

  • Reply
    September 13, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    I had to bring mine in too. They are sitting in the window waititng for the sun.
    We’re supposed to be getting down to 0 Thursday. Bbbbrrr!

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