Is it bad to pick tomatoes while they're green and let them ripen indoors?

My tomato plants are producing so many tomatoes, but when I try to let them ripen on the vine, they always get eaten by a squirrel or bird, or team of insects. Am I losing a lot of flavor/quality by picking them when they're still hard and green and letting them ripen inside on the window sill?

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5 Comments

arielleclementine May 31, 2012
thanks so much everyone! netting here i come! i'm definitely going to try that styrofoam cup trick too!
 
aargersi May 31, 2012
Yeah I think picking green affects flavor, but maybe try 1 or 2 JUST before ripe, just before the stupid mockingbird pecks a hole in it?

Oh I like the cup trick! We have our salad tomatoes completely netted - we put 4 metal spikes at the corner of each bed, then wrapped the whole thing in bird netting - mockingbirds are my main issue and now they can't get in - AC you can come have a look if you like!

As for the cherry tomatoes, they don't seem to care about white, orange or black. The pecked a couple of my Juliettes but I netted the hole in the cage where they were accessing the plant and now they have given up.

You have to watch the damn possums too - the love a perfect tomato, especially if you have your heart set on a specific one for lunch ....
 
cookbookchick May 31, 2012
Years ago, I learned a great trick to keep those tomato eating insects from crawling up the plant. Cut a styrofoam cup crosswise into sections of about 2 inches wide. Then cut the resulting section with one snip so you can open it. Fit the resulting "collar" around the base of the plant and push it down into the soil just enough to anchor it. Taught to me by an old Italian American tomato gardener -- works like a charm!
 

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mainecook61 May 31, 2012
Even better than netting is a spun lightweight fabric like Agribon. It is sometimes called Reemay. You can get it from a seed company like Johnnys Selected Seeds. If you treat it well you can use it over and over. I lets sun and rain through but not insects (unless they're already underneath!),
 
jilhil May 30, 2012
You'll lose flavor and texture if you pick them while they are too hard and try to ripen them. But you can pick them green and use them in other ways - fry them, make pies or jam.

You might want to try netting over your tomato plants to try to deter the thieves.
 
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