Gardener's World tips: Why your outdoor tomatoes haven't ripened
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September is a great time to get back out in the garden and start tidying up your borders and planting bulbs ready for spring. This month, some gardeners are also finding they are still harvesting their tomatoes. Tomatoes can be harvested as early as late June through to September.
However, many British gardeners are now finding that their tomatoes are still green.
Monty Don, lead presenter on the BBC’s long-running series Gardeners’ World, has shared the reason why your tomatoes may still be green and what you can do to ripen them.
On Instagram today, Monty shared a post unveiling a new post on his blog, montydon.com.
He shared a photo of his beautiful garden with the caption: “It is September – the most golden and ethereal of months.
“My website montydon.com is now updated with tips, jobs and inspiration for your golden September garden.”
In the blog post, Monty shared a plethora of jobs Britons can do this September.
The gardening expert’s suggestions included taking cuttings, sowing lawn seed, repairing lawns, aerating lawns, picking and storing apples, planting bulbs and garlic, and pruning summer-fruiting raspberries.
He also suggested “ripening tomatoes” after the UK experienced a summer that was “too hot”.
He said: “Tomatoes ripen best when the temperature is between 26C and 30C so this summer was too hot for many of them – especially if grown under glass and meant that many stayed green much longer than in a cooler summer.
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“However, by September the heat is running out and inevitably we are all left with green tomatoes that are never going to ripen.
“If you pick them – either individually or on the vine – then put them in a drawer with a banana they will ripen and turn red.”
Bananas produce a gas called ethylene which helps to ripen tomatoes after they are picked.
Tomatoes also open faster if they’re warm so putting green tomatoes in an enclosed space with a ripe banana will help the process.
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For those looking to plant some more crops this month, Monty recommended planting garlic.
Garlic is the perfect accompaniment to a plethora of dishes and can be stored easily.
Monty said there are two types of garlic known as “hardneck” and “softneck”.
You will mostly buy softneck which is the easiest to store so is often in the shops.
However, Monty said “hardneck” is the “tastiest garlic” and has a “stiff, upright stalk”.
“Because it is much harder to buy it makes sense to grow it yourself,” he added.
Varieties such as “red duke”, “rocambole”, or “early purple wight” grow slowly so should be planted now while softneck varieties can wait until October or November.
Monty recommended planting a plump clove which will produce a bigger bulb.
He suggested planting them around six inches apart with the pointed end up, buried around an inch below the surface.
You should start to see shoots in around six to eight weeks.
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