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Speed Ripening of Tomatoes, Pumpkins, Squash and Melons

As the end of the growing and harvest season nears in much of the country, many gardeners are concerned all those small green tomatoes, immature pumpkins and melons won’t have time to ripen. Speed things along with a bit of pruning.

Pinch off the tips of each stem of indeterminate tomatoes about a month before the average first fall frost. These tomato varieties will keep growing, flowering and forming fruit until the frost kills the plant. Pinching out the stem tips redirects the plant's energy into ripening the existing fruit instead of producing more flowers and tomatoes that won't have time to mature.

Do the same with vine crops like pumpkins, winter squash and melons that may not be ripening as quickly as desired. Once the plant has formed all the fruit you desire, pinch off the tip of each stem.  This will speed ripening of the existing fruit.

A bit more information:  Extend the harvest season with the help of season extending fabrics like garden fabric, Harvest Guard and ReeMay. These spun materials allow air, light and water through while trapping heat around the plants.

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