I've read the other answers but this question is a bit different. We've had 2 freezes each month this summer. 90 to 100 degrees (F) daytime and plummeting to 35 or lower at night. We have covered with newspaper and row cloth and that really helped but then July and August we started feeling too safe and lazy. Gorgeous tomato plants (30) laden with fruit.

There are a few tomato plants (6) that weren't damaged at all. I am unable to figure out what is common about them; their placement, their variety? All of the tomato plants are laden with beautiful green tomatoes. The weird thing is that the basil, cucumbers, squash, beans were not damaged. The sweet potatoes are complete goners.

Is there a chance by leaving the tomato plants alone (we built the new greenhouse right over the garden and just got the skin installed, no heat as yet)... that the green fruits will ripen? Is there enough photosynthetic property within the green stems to allow this?

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    Found that if I get up before the sun (major deal for me) and water the foliage of the frozen plants, every half hour, really saves the plants. The damage caused by a freeze is allowing the leaves to 'warm' up too fast. That is where the damage you see; blackened leaves happens. By watering the leaves you slow the warming of the frozen plant cells so they don't burst and die. Cool huh!!
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 19:27
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    I think this may help: gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/22343/… Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 22:12
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    They need continuing sunlight and warm temps during the day to continue to ripen - seems like you should pick them when it gets too cold and put them in a drawer or a bag with a ripe banana or apple, or make green tomato chutney if they're still rockhard and completely green
    – Bamboo
    Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 23:07

1 Answer 1


I'm sure you worked it out, but yes, if the stems were alive, and the fruits were not damaged, the vines should leaf out again, and the fruit ripen. Thinning the fruit some, and cutting back the vine ends can make this less of a burden on the root system (enabling a faster flush).

And yes, some frost tender veggies are more frost tender than others. If the dew is frosted (which doesn't rupture the softer inner cell walls), then like you mentioned, you can save the plants by melting them off with cool water. If the plants are frozen hard, they'll probably die.

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    Pretty amazing most all of the green tomatoes ripened and yummy! Made my first green tomato chutney with mangos. Wonderful stuff. I was able to have a 3rd crop of peas until just last week! Bunnies loved them...
    – stormy
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 23:17

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