Why are my tomatoes taking so long to ripen?

Q.  My tomatoes have fruit but they are taking a long time to ripen. Some look like they have reached maximum size.  I use mittleider magic once a week.

A.  Patience is difficult when you see the fruit and it doesn’t seem to be changing.  Some basics to remember:  First, tomatoes take about 8 weeks from the time you transplant healthy seedlings into the garden until you see your first ripe fruit.  And second, they need full sunshine all day long to mature a good crop, so make sure there is no shade where your tomatoes are growing.

Some people advocate stopping watering, in order to get the tomatoes to ripen.  This is a BAD idea!  The plant will ripen those fruit that are close, but it will stop producing new fruit, because it thinks it is going to die.  Regular watering, so the soil moisture is always available to the plants’ roots, is essential for a large healthy crop.

Those who say too much fertilizer causes all leaves and stems with no fruit also are misinformed, probably because the fertilizers they use are high in nitrogen, and are not balanced with everything the plant needs.   Proper, regular feeding will enable your plants to produce 1 – 2# of fruit per plant each week for many months – right up until the frost kills them.  And in greenhouses, or in frost-free locations, tomatoes will continue to grow and produce for an entire year and even more.