Can you overwinter tomatoes?

Messybun

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Hello all. So, a little background, I’m really bad at plants. I’m a botanical murderer so to speak. Literally, I apologize to any starts that come my way. Anyways, I’ve seen pictures and heard tales of my great grandmothers “tomato bushes/trees” apparently she had 6-8 foot tall tomato plants that were bountiful and then some. They weren’t tomarillos, just normal tomatoes apparently. Could you achieve this by covering your tomato plants in the winter? Would they last? I am in the south btw. Is there some variety that does this; as far as I can tell they were just regular, full size, nothing strange.
 

Pulsegleaner

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Well, I've kept a tomato in a pot over the winter and had it survive (it won't make fruit over then though, there being no bugs to pollinate it).

Tomatoes ARE technically perennials in their native range, it depends on how cold it gets near you. If you don't get frost, you should be alright. Note that the tomatoes will keep adding length so you'll nee to support them (In professional greenhouses, they often grow them on rollers to be able to reach the fruit.)
 

Ridgerunner

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Hi, welcome from Louisiana. Glad you joined.

Depends on where you are in the south and how cold it gets that specific winter. Tomatoes are tropical plants. Frost or freeze will kill them.

South of New Orleans my son kept a tomato alive last winter by covering it in the few light frosts we had. He wound up with a tall spindly thing with long bare stems that had a few leaves at the tips. Never produced worth a darn. If he had buried the tips so they could re-root they might have produced but he didn't try that. He finally planted some new starts.

If you are far enough south, say down in Florida and you don't have a freeze of frost it could work fine. If you are on the verge of that you may be OK covering them. One way to find out. Try it and let us know how it works.

All gardening is local. We all have our microclimates and conditions. Those Yankees can do things we can't. We can do things they can't. Wherever you are you can probably do things I can't. My son lives in the same town and he does things that don't work for me. There are techniques that we share on here that often make a big difference but ultimately it comes down to trial and error.

Good luck and once again, :frow
 

valley ranch

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Yes, you can Over Winter Lolig (tomatoes) and they like it very much, they'll reward you for doing so ~ you can cut them back if you want to shape them they'll put out fresh new branches ~ they're a vine mostly ~ you can shape them like a bush if you want or in spring tie them to a trellis and let the new arms and reach out ```

by over winter ~ you mean take them inside in container ~ some places ~ like here in the mountains ```

Lolig- Armenian for Tomato ```
 
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Dirtmechanic

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Here in Alabama we have no frost horizon in the soil. Volunteers always show up from last years' fruit drops. One reason they can be very rewarding is that growth will start earlier than the internet experts say it should. And then the plant is more mature at an earlier stage than the internet says it should be on that date. It's very enlightening.
 
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baymule

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We lived in Livingston, Tx about 75 miles north of Houston. We got frost and short lived freezes, they were long enough to kill plants. So I built a PVC frame over the tomato bed, we covered it in plastic, duct taped in place and draped plastic at one end, the bottom held down by bricks, as a door. I ran an outdoor extension cord to it and on freezing nights I turned on an electric space heater. We had tomatoes all winter. It wasn't pretty and it was in the front yard, haha, but it worked! We drove rebar in the ground and placed the PVC frame over it.

1607563448827.png
 

Dirtmechanic

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We lived in Livingston, Tx about 75 miles north of Houston. We got frost and short lived freezes, they were long enough to kill plants. So I built a PVC frame over the tomato bed, we covered it in plastic, duct taped in place and draped plastic at one end, the bottom held down by bricks, as a door. I ran an outdoor extension cord to it and on freezing nights I turned on an electric space heater. We had tomatoes all winter. It wasn't pretty and it was in the front yard, haha, but it worked! We drove rebar in the ground and placed the PVC frame over it.

View attachment 37941
Ever notice there is this force in the universe that just keeps drawing gardeners inexorably toward owning a greenhouse?
 

flowerbug

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Ever notice there is this force in the universe that just keeps drawing gardeners inexorably toward owning a greenhouse?

in my case absolutely not. not here, not right now, perhaps no ever.

why? i'm plenty busy enough already, when it is time for the season to end i am quite ready to do other things.

my exception to having a greenhouse would be this:

if i could have a large enough greenhouse that i could fit a small one room house inside it, just a place where i have the fridge, the shower, toilet, my books and other gadgets that would not like being kept out in the greenhouse. the greenhouse over the small house would also have to include a large wandering water feature that i could swim in and it would also act as a heat sink.

the winter's here being so cold i could not store enough heat to prevent the outside part from freezing so it would have to be further south, just far enough south that i can still grow everything i want to here, but also that i could grow citrus inside that would survive. the pool would be for wintertime exercise. i love swimming the best. i'd also want a large jungle gym so i can crawl around and work on plants from up high without having to have other ways of getting up to do those things that are needed.

plenty of solar panels and electricity storage would be nice. or even hydrogen cells and hydrogen storage would be nice. either way i'd need enough juice to keep warm and everything from freezing through the winter inside the little house and then whatever extra heat and juice i'd have would go towards keeping the pool warm and that then acts to keep the greenhouse from freezing.

the big problem with greenhouses, they get diseases and problems and even if you air them out and clean them it's just not the same as being outside. there's just no really good way yet of doing everything all summer and then enclosing it for the winter and still getting the benefits of the bug killing cold spells and being able to grow colder weather crops too.

so even with a greenhouse and all that gadgetry i still want plenty of outside cooler weather gardens and places to grow bulk crops too like all the beanos.

really, keep it simple is where i am at now. no greenhouse needed or wanted. just let me get out there when the weather is acceptable and i'll enjoy things as they are otherwise. :)

but i do constantly day dream about this sort of thing and how to get an actual workable energy budget and a location that works for this and somehow coming up with the $.
 

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