Last night I started putting the garden to bed for the year, removing plants and cleaning things up.
Back in the spring I planted a couple of pepper plants and a variety of tomatoes. As they started growing I placed a stake next to each, and trained the plants onto the supports. However, when the summer heat wave hit I wasn't as diligent. Now the plants were sprawled all over each other, and it was hard to tell where one stopped and another one started. I was confident there weren't going to be any more vine-ripened fruits this year.
Nothing beats a ripe red tomato from the garden, but I always manage to find a use for the end-of-the-season green ones, too. They go into a large bowl on top of the refrigerator, where some of them will turn red. The ones that don't eventually go into the bag in the freezer for making stock.
I began my cleanup job on the far right side of the bed. The first plant held a few large green fruits. I took them off, tossed them in a bucket, then pulled up the plant. Took less than five minutes. The next two plants, however, had dozens of small grape fruits. I began removing them one at a time, decided that would take forever, and pulled the bunches off in clumps. They, too, went in the bucket, as did the rest of the tomatoes I came across and a couple of green peppers. I kept going until our "green" recycling can was completely full. The majority of the job was done, and the rest will wait until next week, when the trash has been picked up and the can emptied.
When I was finished the three-gallon bucket was half filled with unripe tomatoes. I brought the bucket into the kitchen and removed innumerable green star-shaped sepals, then ran water into the bucket to clean the fruits. After the bucket was full, I noticed that some of the tomatoes were floating, and others were at the bottom. Surely that had to mean something. A quick Google search gave me the answer...Green tomatoes sink. Ripe (or I guess in my case, partially ripe) tomatoes float.
Now I know.