Garden notes: Ripening

I’m not quite sure what came over me last week – it must have been the shock of everything starting up again. Outside, the sun was shining. The wash was drying on the line. There were baskets of windfalls to be peeled and stewed each afternoon, the beans were coming thick and fast and the last few caterpillars were wreaking havoc with my brassicas. Inside, our woollens lay limp and abandoned in the heat. Lunch was a different salad every day. Yet despite all this evidence to the contrary, I looked at all my green tomatoes and decided that they were never going to ripen without a little bit of help.

There’s nothing like a spot of experimentation to get the children interested. We settled on three methods: hanging a whole plant upside down, layering them in a shoebox with newspaper and popping them in the airing cupboard, and putting a few in a brown paper bag with a banana to help them along.

Five days in they remain, without exception, resolutely green. In the meantime, I suspected the tomatoes in the greenhouse needed a drink, given this glorious September heat. And what did I find, on opening the door, but loads of wonderfully ripe tomatoes just begging to be picked. Well. I’m not complaining. Surely the others will catch up at some point, once they’ve got over my silliness. In the meantime, there are tomatoes to be fried with eggs for breakfast, and chopped into salads for lunch. What’s that you say? Tomatoes for supper? Oh, go on then. Twist my arm.

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