Keeping tomato plant alive in winter

briergardener_gwAugust 23, 2009

I have a nice Silver Fir Tree Tomato plant in container in Al's mix (worked great, thank you, Al), i got a lot of tomatoes from it and wondering if i can keep this plant alive through the winter inside.

Can somebody share the experience?

This is determine variaty.

Should I trim it after fruiting is done?

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Yes, you can keep it alive over the winter indoors, but I rather doubt you will find it worthwhile.

I don't think it will survive long without an expensive lighting system, regular fluorescent won't be able to illuminate a large plant. I realize this is a 'patio' variety, but it's still going to be near impossible to light it properly with shop lights.

An alternative would be to root a cutting and let that grow for while and then root a cutting from it and so on until spring. This will reduce the requirement for intense lighting, but you will still almost certainly need more than winter window light to keep it going.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 10:54AM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

I can't tell you what to expect with your SFT since it is a determinate, but i have no problem growing tomatoes indoors in containers. Of course, I have them in rooms with lots of natural light and I give them about 4 hours of supplemental lighting each day, from CFC lightbulbs in clamp-on shop lights affixed to stakes in the plants, and placed just a few inches over the highest leaves.

I have three of these that I move around over my indoor veggie garden, in the course of the day. Each bulb uses about 25 watts of electricity, and puts out the equivalent of about 100 watts of incandesent lighting. One reason I do this, is because I can add light on the warm side of the spectrum, since that (the red spectrum)is what encourages flowering and fruiting.

I am also getting peppers and cucumbers (Cool Breeze hybrid, which are self-fertile and don't need pollinators) from this method. The Italian long purple eggplants are flowering,too. so if they hold onto their blossoms, I'll get a harvest from them, too.

So give it a shot. Half the fun of gardening is trying things out and seeing if they work.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 12:58AM
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I always cut the container tomatoes plants to within 4" of the soil 2-3 weeks before moving indoors (greenhouse or basement with a 4' x 4' western facing window). This causes new growth. Lighten up on your watering and fertilize at half the strength that you did outside. This will keep new growth from getting spindly. As long as they get 4-6 hours of strong light they will do well. Turn toward light source once a day. Setting pot on a Lazy-Susan is great for that.

Use a Q-tip (reuse the same one) to pollinate with. You can buy bloom-set from your local garden center. You may want to get it now while it is stock-not much call for it late in the season so they don't reorder when it is gone 'till spring.

Good luck

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 7:35AM
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Thank you, people, i will try.
Seramas, what is "bloom-set"?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 1:33PM
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It comes in a spray bottle. It insures each bloom produces fruit. It is a must if your growing tomatoes in low light/cool conditions and still want fruit.

I have 10 seeds for the seedless tomato (Burpee Seed Co.) and plan to grow them in the greenhouse this winter-not for the fruit (any fruit produced will be greatly appreciated) but to get cuttings for next years outside gardens. Plan to plant them upside down in 2-100 foot long raised bed 6 feet above the ground with an automatic watering/feeding system. So when they grow they can be easily trimmed and harvested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bloom-Set

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 5:09PM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

You can also increase fruit set by giving your plant or blooming branches a good shake every day or gently thumping each blossom. It causes the pollen to drop into the right place.

From what I have read, the best times are before 11 am, while the pollen is fresh and when the bloom gets to the brighter yellow stage, presumably most ready to conceive baby tomato.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2009 at 10:58AM
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