Watching the Tomatoes

tomatoes8It’s early morning and I am in my office, computer on my lab and ready to work. I have great notes from my writers group about next steps for my writing. I have started a new chapter idea that I am excited about for my writing. I have my tea at hand and the fan is slowly turning on the ceiling. I am ready to go …

But there are those tomatoes I can see out my window. There are so many plants in one raised bed. (really to many)  There are lots and lots of green tomatoes waiting to turn red. They have turned a light shade of green slowly moving towards red. I am sure if I just sit here and watch them in the sun they will be red soon. They will be ready for eating, for consumption.

The mistake in my thinking and doing is that the tomatoes are not just sitting waiting to turn red. In fact within this plant there is hard work going on. Water is pushing up the stem to the leaves and fruit so the plant can continue to grow. The cells in the leaves are taking in the sunlight to make chlorophyll to feed the plant. My tomatoes are beginning produce lycopene and carotene, two substances that help a tomato turn red. These plants are hard at work. They know they must work daily if they are going to produce fruit. They need this fruit for the seeds – I need this fruit for my dinner. Neither will happen without hard work.

So with that in mind I realize that the fruits of my writing will not happen without hard work as well. I can’t just sit and think I will be a writer. Like my tomatoes I need to work daily and produce the needed lycopene and carotene (in other words – I need to produce words – lots and lots of words)  in order to see the fruits of my writing.

So enough looking out the window. It is back to my novel writing!

Brandywine tomatoes


Interesting Facts about Tomatoes Ripening:

A factor in how long it takes for a tomato to turn red is the outside temperature. Tomatoes will only produce lycopene and carotene, two substances that help a tomato turn red, between the temperatures of 50 and 85 F. (10-29 C.). If it is any cooler that 50 F./10 C., those tomatoes will stay a stubborn green. Any warmer than 85 F./29 C., and the process that produces lycopene and carotene comes to a screeching halt.

Tomatoes are triggered to turn red by a chemical called ethylene. Ethylene is odorless, tasteless and invisible to the naked eye. When the tomato reaches the proper green mature stage, it starts to produce ethylene. The ethylene then interacts with the tomato fruit to start the ripening process. Consistent winds can carry the ethylene gas away from the fruit and slow the ripening process.

Read more at Gardening Know How: What Makes Tomatoes Turn Red

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, help in schools and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in gardens, Reflection, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Watching the Tomatoes

  1. arjeha says:

    I honestly didn’t know what was behind tomatoes turning red. I just know I enjoy them and there is nothing like the taste of a home grown tomato. Thanks for enlightening me.

  2. Linda Baie says:

    Beautiful connections, Joanne. Your plants and the fruit look marvelous. Please share a pic when that chemical reaction happens! FYI-on our news last night a gardener shared that people should extract the seeds from the first ripened tomato for “starting” next year, then you’ll have earlier ripening. I imagine you can find how on the web. I thought I’d share because I know how much you love gardening.

  3. Ramona says:

    Oh, I want my little orbs to turn red too! I keep thinking that we need more sunshine for it to happen. Here’s to good fruits appearing in your garden and your writing!

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