Growing your own tomatoes is one of the most rewarding and useful things you can do. It has become more and more popular over the years, but unfortunately it takes a lot of care and time.
This is especially true when the winter season comes, so how are you meant to grow tomatoes through winter? Well, luckily we’ve got you covered.
We’ve researched the 3 wise ways you can grow tomatoes (see also: The 11 Best Ways To Stop Birds Eating Your Tomatoes)through winter!
So, if you’re ready to learn a lot more, then read on and discover the answers.
Tomato Growing: The Basics
Before we go any further, it’s a good idea that we first point out how tomatoes would normally grow. As tomatoes typically come from very hot climates, the winter period is a time that often sees your tomato crops wither and die.
Indeed, the taste of a real homegrown tomato largely comes from this exposure to the sun. The sun’s rays improve the rate of photosynthesis in tomatoes, which then assists these tomato plants to produce carbohydrates.
These carbohydrates are then converted into sugars, acids and other compounds that you will typically find in the fruits.
To put it simply, the more sun exposure – equals the more photosynthesis. The more photosynthesis means the more complex the taste will be and therefore the more tasty and flavorful the tomato will ultimately become.
This is all fine and good, but what happens when the sun is gone and the winter rolls in? Is it even possible to grow tomatoes in winter? Yes!
Can Tomatoes Grow In Winter?
As we said, the answer to this is yes, despite how difficult or even impossible this task may seem. There are in fact a whole host of ways you can grow tomatoes during the winter season.
The first thing you may do is identify which tomatoes will grow in cooler climates, because these tomato plants will be able to handle more tolerance to the cold, and will be able to bear fruit even in a short season.
The second thing you could do (if at all possible), is to bring the tomato plants inside during the winter period. With the right set up and the right know-how, you will likely find it much easier to grow tomatoes in this way.
Not only this, but having your tomato plants inside means it’s much less likely that the plants will fall afoul of pests and diseases (Also check out Tomato Pests That Will Destroy Your Tomato Plants).
Another thing you can do is grow your tomatoes in a greenhouse. This can actually be done all year round, assuming you have enough garden space for it. However, you will still need some sun in your region during the winter months.
You might find though that the fruits are not quite as large as they previously were before and it can be a little tricky to find enough room for them, especially if you are a keen gardener with a lot of other plants to deal with.
With all of this said, there are three other wise ways that you can grow tomatoes through winter. Let’s take a look at these ways in some more detail.
The 3 Wise Ways To Grow Tomatoes Through Winter
Without any further delay, let’s dive into these very wise ways to grow your tomatoes through winter!
1. Grow Your Plants Indoors
Most people will know that tomatoes are normally grown outdoors. As we said earlier, these tomatoes originate from countries with a lot of sun, so they’re naturally inclined to grow outdoors with the beaming sun on them.
This does not mean that it’s impossible to grow tomato plants inside though. By doing so, you can protect your tomato plants from the deadly cold that would normally see them perish.
This of course means more chances for your tomato plants to survive and more chances to bear some fruit, even in the winter season!
The important thing to remember though is that even when these plants are indoors, the conditions of the outdoors need to be replicated.
What we mean here is recreating the warm, humid climate that these plants are used to but from inside. Therefore, you need to get the lighting, humidity and temperature right.
While it’s not especially difficult to recreate the humidity or temperature if you use something like a humidifier and portable heaters, you might find it tricky to recreate the lighting that the plant would normally be used to.
During winter, sunlight is not as abundant for most places. Therefore, you’re going to have to invest in some grow lights. All of these things might set you back some money, and you’re going to need the right space too.
2. Grow Tomatoes In A Greenhouse
Perhaps the second easiest way to grow your tomatoes over the winter period is by using a greenhouse. Of course, we recognize that not everybody will have the space for this or even have a greenhouse to begin with, but if you do – it’s a game changer.
There are also some very important things you need to remember. While greenhouses can protect your tomato plants from frost – which can kill your plants – it can also be very easy for your tomatoes to be overexposed to sunlight.
Believe it or not, tomato plants do not do especially well when they are subjected to hot sun for too long. The fruits tend to dry up and the skins can even rot eventually. Therefore, if you can, you should place some blinds nearby – ready for the hot sun.
One of the best advantages to using a greenhouse for growing your tomatoes is that watering is easier to control. As you will likely know, it’s very easy to overwater your tomato plants when they are outdoors, due to rain or even forgetfulness.
As a result, you may even have healthier tomato plants as they are not likely to develop things like root rot – which is common when plants are overwatered.
Growing tomato plants within a greenhouse can even be done using hydroponic growing methods, so you could also be helping with pollination and oxygenation – especially if you introduce bumblebees.
3. Grow Specialized Varieties Of Tomatoes
There are not a huge number of specialized tomatoes that can be easily grown during the winter months, but they do exist. They tend to have a short season lifespan when they produce fruit.
It’s important that if you choose this method, you pay close attention to the temperature requirements. Your tomatoes need to be able to withstand temperatures of 50F to 60F, with a view to increase this to 70F to bear the best fruits.
It’s therefore a good idea to check the temperatures in your region around the winter time to understand what you’re going to be dealing with, before you start planting these specialized crops.
If, in your region, there is even the slightest chance of frost, you’re going to need to revisit our previous two points. In other words, even if these specialized tomato varieties can handle colder climates, it’s unlikely that they will survive the frost.
This is because of the crystalized droplets that frost causes. It’s pretty much a death sentence for tomato plants. Indeed, some people choose to use frost protection inside their greenhouses for the best results.
This protection is like a fabric and it’s perfectly safe for your tomato plants. However, it’s important not to use these sheets when frost is not likely, as this can hinder light exposure and pollination.
Some of the most well known special varieties of tomatoes (see also: Fastest-Growing Tomato Varieties For Short Seasons To Spruce Up Your Garden)include:
- Prairie Fire
- Oregon Spring
- San Francisco Fog
- Northern Lights
Growing your tomatoes can be a tricky task when the winter months roll in, but luckily if you follow some of our tips, you should be fine!
Frequently Asked Questions
We will now cover some of your most frequently asked questions. We hope we are able to answer them all.
There are a number of reasons why someone might want to keep their tomato crops growing over the winter months. This could be simply to keep bearing fruits, to prolong the life of their tomato plants or simply as a hobby.
It can also make it much easier for the next crop during the growing season – so keeping everything flowing during the most difficult season can be a game changer.
It’s possible. As photosynthesis is the main component to the taste of tomatoes, the lack of sunlight could cause the tomato fruits to taste a little more bland and possibly lack as much juice.
Having said that, the tomato fruits will be the same genetic strain – so the taste may not stray too much. There’s a lot of other factors to this including where they are stored and if the plants are exposed to other plants or bees.
You need to get the light exposure, temperature and humidity just right for the tomato plants to grow nicely. Therefore, depending on what type of tomato plant you have, you will need to find out what their perfect conditions are.
Using a grow light, humidifier and portable heater – you can easily recreate their natural conditions, as much as physically possible anyway. As we said, it might set you back a few bucks, but it’s worth it in the long run.
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