Tomatoes and banana power
If you’re worrying that your tomatoes don’t seem to be ripening, don’t resign yourself to making green tomato chutney when you can help ripen the fruit while it’s still on the plant. Pu ing a ripe banana underneath any green-fruited plants can help speed up the ripening process. This is due to the ethylene gas given off by the fruit (that’s why your fruit bowl goes off so quickly if you have bananas in it). Remember to pick ripe tomatoes straight away. Now’s also the perfect time to save tomato seeds to plant next year; don’t save F1 varieties as the seed will never grow true to type. Harvest ripe fruit, scrape out the seeds and cover with water for 48 hours. This breaks down the jelly from around the seeds (don’t worry if you get green on top of the water, that’s normal). Then rinse thoroughly in a sieve or tea strainer, dry on a windowsill for a week and store in paper envelopes until next year – it’s that easy!
Left, a ripe banana will speed up reddening. Right, saving the best seed