By Amelia Tucker
Most people think that a frost is sudden death to a tomato patch.
They watch the frost dates carefully and consider the season over as soon as the forecast warns of impending cold weather.
This is not always the case.
With a little careful planning, you can continue to harvest tomatoes after the frost of fall comes knocking on your door.
A very light frost will usually kill a few leaves but leave the plant and fruit untouched.
If there are temps predicted that just barely fall within the frost rating or catch you by surprise, pinch off the offending leaves and keep taking care of the plants.
If a more serious frost is coming, cover your plants with something to keep the frost from ending up on the leaves. I like to use sheets but anything like plastic, sheeting, newspaper or other material that can be used like a gentle covering will suffice.
Leave the cover on until the temp breaks that frost level in the mid morning and your plants will be none the worse for wear. Do not, however, leave plastic on the plants in the hot sun as this is damaging to the tomato plant and all your attention will be wasted.
If you do find that your plants were frosted, you can try and spray them with water to warm them before the sun hits.
The problem with frost is that the cold freezes the cells of the plant and then as they warm up, the cells burst. If you can water them before the sun comes up there is a chance that you can save some of them.
If you have room, pulling the entire plant and hang it upside down in a garage or cellar. That way the fruit keeps on ripening, safe from any inclement weather.
Picking off the green fruit and laying them side by side on newspaper then covering with more newspaper is a tried and true method to ripen the fruits as well.
If nothing else, try picking the green fruits and finding delicious ways to use them!
Tomatoes are a wonderful treat at any stage of ripeness.