Despite an extremely dry April (and more of the same thus far in May), my little garden is beginning to produce. Left to right, above: artichokes, Celebrity tomatoes, LSU purple figs, zucchini, tomatillos, coriander (cilantro gone to seed), dill seed, jalapenos, and bush beans. The blackeyed peas aren’t yet flowering, and the sunflowers haven’t budded. I think I’ll have to put in a set of hot-weather tomatoes, as the dry heat is going to finish off the early ones long before July.
I just harvested and ate my first ripe tomato — could have used another day on the vine but I couldn’t restrain myself. The rest have a couple of weeks more to ripen before they get blasted by the heat or otherwise we’ll be eating a lot of fried green tomatoes. I recently read that you can pull the whole plant with the green tomatoes, hang it upside down, and the tomatoes will continue to ripen. I may have to try that.
You don’t have to pull up the whole plant–green tomatoes will ripen just fine off the vine if they’ve reached maturity. It’s tricky to know if they’ve ripened enough–my county-ag-agent father-in-law told me to look for the “white star” on the blossom end. The tomato isn’t uniformly green any longer, the color is beginning the slightest change toward red, and you can feel a textural difference in the skin & flesh of the tomato (once you know what you’re looking for). Every year, he’d plant more than 50 tomatoes, and he always picked them green & let them ripen off the vine. It increased his yield…he didn’t like losing tomatoes to birds or raccoons, etc.
Is there any variety you prefer as far as hot weather tomatoes?
Heat Wave, Solar Set, and Florida all do fairly well in our climate. I need to find some, quick, and get them in the ground or I won’t have any July tomatoes. My early crop is pretty thin, thanks to the dry weather.