Forecast: Ideal weather next week for tomato ripening


Warmer weather next week should yield a genuine taste of summer.

Tomatoes, which have been stubbornly slow to ripen because the weather has been so cool, are expected to begin maturing quickly.

Likewise peaches and apples, which are behind schedule and should begin catching up.

“It's going to make a difference — tomatoes have been slow,” said Mary Anna Anderson, a horticulturist with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Douglas and Sarpy Counties.

Next week's weather — daytime highs in the 80s, paired with cool nights — will be ideal for tomatoes, Anderson said.

If daytime temperatures were to climb into the 90s and nights were to be warmer, then ripening and quality would suffer, she said.

The rest of the month, in fact, could favor ripening produce.

The odds favor continued warm weather in Nebraska and Iowa through Aug. 30, according to the forecast by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center.

Anderson said the fate of tomatoes that haven't formed yet is less certain.

Depending on the variety of tomato and the timing of the first frost, blossoms now on plants may not have time to develop into fully ripened fruit, she said.

While tomatoes are about a month behind schedule, apples and peaches are a week or so behind, said Erik Olson, orchard manager at Nebraska City's Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard.

About one-third of the peach harvest is left, so plenty are available for picking during this weekend's peach festival, he said.

Gala apples will likely be ready in about a week, Jonathans about Sept. 1 and honey crisps around Sept. 7.

The fruit itself is plentiful, Olson said. No serious freeze damage occurred in the spring.

Each apple and peach starts as a single flower, so the number of flowers that survive the spring sets the stage for the size of the fall harvest.

“Everybody should have a pretty good crop this year,” he said.

Current conditions and forecast

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