Tomatoes are delicious and versatile, and we’d all want to have them all year long. However, if you plant your own garden, you know that tomato plants usually die when winter comes. Are there things you can do to keep them alive for the next season?
In nature, tomatoes don’t usually regrow every year, as they can’t survive the low temperatures of winter. While tomatoes that are planted outside will likely die and have to be replanted every year, tomato plants grown inside may thrive and last for many seasons.
There are strategies you can put in place to curb the winter cold and keep your tomatoes coming back. In this article, we’ll look at practical tips to help your tomato plant survive the winter and all year long.
Why Do Tomatoes Die in The Winter?
We get that planting and producing your food can be quite a rewarding task. We can also understand the love of tomatoes and the desire to keep them alive and productive all year round.
However, tomatoes are delicate plants. They have special needs, which makes the task of growing them a bit more challenging. Tomatoes require a particular temperature to grow, for example, and thrive better when the humidity in the air is just right.
Tomato growth is deeply affected by the seasons, which influence its planting cycle. Think about that for a second. The best time to plant tomatoes – if you’re starting for the first time – is after the last spring frost. In other words, when the temperatures begin to rise.
The tomato plant will keep growing until the beginning of the summer when it’ll bear fruit. If the temperature remains right and there’s enough sunlight, you can expect to have plenty of tomatoes to reap not only when the summer starts, but into the fall.
However, as the temperatures drop and, especially, when the first frost comes, the tendency is that your tomato plants will die and you’ll have to start again in the next spring.
That explains why tomatoes that are grown outside don’t usually survive the winter and regrow, but it also indicates that if we can curb the winter cold, we may be able to have our tomatoes alive for a long time.
How Can You Keep Your Tomatoes Alive?
The winter and its low temperatures are what cause the tomato plants to die and never regrow. The easiest way to avoid the winter cold and, consequently, save our tomatoes is to keep our plants away from the elements, inside of the house.
Tomatoes come in many varieties and each has its particular needs. If we want to succeed in raising our tomato plants at home or in an enclosed area, we need to know exactly which variety to pick and how to care for it.
Have you ever heard about the determinate and indeterminate varieties of tomatoes?
Tomatoes That Grow Outside
Indeterminate varieties of tomatoes grow continuously, producing fruits along their stems throughout the summer and the fall when temperatures are higher. Those varieties can grow up to 5 feet and because they tend to be bigger, they need more space.
Those plants are commonly planted in gardens, and not in pots. If the kind of tomato plant you have is of an indeterminate variety, it’s very hard to keep it alive throughout winter, simply because you can’t protect it from the elements.
Tomatoes That Grow Inside
Determinate varieties of tomatoes (also known by some as bush varieties) tend to grow to a certain size and stop. Those plants usually reach up to 3 feet and thrive in pots. That allows you to keep them inside of the house, safe and protected from the elements.
Growing tomatoes indoors is an interesting process. It’s full of details, but it becomes easier as you get the hang of it and develop a workflow. Keep in mind that determinates often will produce all their fruits at once – which means one big harvest per season, instead of a continuous harvest during summer and fall. And that’s good news!
First, a big batch of tomatoes will allow you to prep different sauces and recipes at once. You can freeze them and use them as needed, over time.
But also, determinate varieties can be protected from the elements, simply by being inside of your home. In other words, you’ll likely be able to keep them alive for more than one year, producing fruit every season, without the need to replant them after every winter.
3 Tips to Grow Indoor Tomatoes
Growing tomatoes indoors is the way to go if you want to keep them to survive the winter. To try and increase the chances of making it happen, here are three simple tips that will help you succeed and have fresh tomatoes all year long.
- Choose the best variety for you – we know by now that determinate varieties of tomatoes are the best to grow inside of the house. But among the determinants, there are many options to choose from. For example, Roma tomatoes are great for sauces, while Zebra Cherry tomatoes are better for salads. Find out what you want your tomatoes for, and chose the best variety for you.
- Pick the right pot and the right spot – choosing where your tomatoes will be planted is key, as they need space to grow, sunlight and heat. Remember that tomatoes need the right temperature and humidity to thrive and survive through the winter.
- Rotate your tomatoes – this may sound funny, but it’s important and works. Move your pot 90 degrees every day, to make sure that all sides of your tomato plant will get sunlight and have the chance to grow equally. It will help keep it healthy.
There are a lot of things you can do to help your tomatoes grow and be healthy, but those simple tips will certainly make a big difference and make you succeed.
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Do tomato plants grow back every year? The simple answer is no, most commonly tomato plants die due to cold conditions.
But there is an alternative to keep them growing all year round, Indoor growth.
Growing your tomato plants indoors can help protect them from cold conditions and many find them easier to care for.
The 3 key steps for growing your plants indoors are, finding the right variety for you, choosing the correct pot for your chosen variety, and rotating your plant every day.
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