I noticed one of my tomatoes that had a bug hole near the stem was turning red way before the rest. I put it in the kitchen, and sure enough it’s ready to eat now, maybe 2 weeks ahead of everything else. The hole rotted a bit but can be cut away. Is there a relation? If so, I thought this might be a neat trick at end of season for those green tomatoes that never ripen in time.
I’d say, yes. They do both ripen and rot more quickly when injured. You can see the same result in peppers, squash, melons and other veggies. I don’t think they develop the full flavor as well as uninjured fruits. And you’re always at risk of losing the entire fruit to bacteria and decay once the cells are injured and the organisms have a pathway to the interior.
I’ve seen the same thing with apples in the past.
This is true. But you do not need to injure your tomatoes at the end of the season. You can collect them unripe before the first frost and to store them in the cool place out of direct sunlight. 50% or more of the green tomatoes will get ripe during 2-8 weeks period. The greener they are the longer it’ll take for them to change color and the less flavor they’ll have. But it is still nice to eat your own tomatoes in November or even December.
My dad pulls the entire vine up just before the first frost and hangs it upside down in an un heated garage. They will continue to slowly ripen for a long time as the vine dries up.
Somewhat related: I was just told yesterday that root pruning your tomatoes about six weeks before the anticipated first frost will hasten ripening of the fruit still on the vine. As there is no point in letting fruit set this late anyway you go ahead and pinch any blossoms. Stick a shovel into the ground all around the plant along the drip line.
Haven’t tried it yet but expect to this year. That’ll be about the last week in July for us, if this were a typical year. This year it has been anything but. So we’ll see.