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Tomatoes Need Both Sun And Shade

(credit: Phran Novelli)

(credit: Phran Novelli)

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By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Tomatoes need sun to grow, that much we know, at least 6 hours of sun a day or so. But too much sun and heat can also be bad for tomatoes. Tomatoes actually stop ripening when air temperatures rise too high, which is why back in July you might have had fruit on the vine that just sat there, green and staring at you.

In recent weeks as temperatures moderated, the fruits started ripening and you may have more tomatoes than you can eat, cook, freeze – or can. But even when temperatures are less intense, too much direct sun can sunscald ripening tomatoes, causing pale patches that are ugly, unappetizing, and invite a mold that ruins the fruit.

The leaves of the plant itself make the best shade for your tomatoes. My plum tomato plant has produced pounds and pounds this summer, but you don’t see them at first glance – it’s not until you peek inside the foliage that you spy piles of red tomatoes hanging on the vine at their peak of ripeness, begging to be picked.

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