Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

Can I store and ripen green tomatoes?

Tomatoes are especially sensitive to frost, so be sure to pick all the ripe or near ripe tomatoes when frost is the forecast. You can harvest and store full-sized green tomatoes for later ripening. This will avoid losing them to frost damage. These tomatoes may not taste as good as garden-ripened tomatoes, but they taste as good as or better than store-bought tomatoes.

Wrap each green tomato individually in a sheet of newspaper. Pack the tomatoes in a paper bag, cardboard box or bushel basket, and place them in a cool place which won't freeze. Basements, garages, or frost-free porches work well. After you use the red tomatoes, start ripening the green tomatoes.

To ripen them, unwrap a few and place in a dry 70 degree area. Unwrap only what you plan to use the next few days. Use cut or bruised green tomatoes first, as they do not keep as long in storage as undamaged tomatoes.

Another method is to pick the green tomatoes and spread them out on cardboard or papers on the basement floor. Watch them every few days and remove those showing color to a warmer place such as a kitchen window.