Hurricane Irene came at us with her 75 mile an hour winds and driving rain, but we had a plan to protect our tomatoes - and it worked! First, we picked off all the ripe and even partially ripe fruit. But then, instead of striving to keep our 6 foot plants standing through the storm, which was our initial instinct, we laid them on the ground beforehand. This way, the wind barely reached them and couldn't shake the tomatoes off the vines.
We had to be very gentle as we lowered them so that the branches didn't crack. And we needed to criss-cross them in order to have room. But it was worth it. The plants are still in tact and we only lost a few green tomatoes in the process..
With the wind lasting through Sunday, we kept them grounded most of the day and picked a couple up on Sunday evening. The rest we raised on Monday. I'm relieved to say that they made it through the gale in fine shape and we expect to have tomatoes right through Sept.