Winter tomatoes

  There is nothing like the taste of vine-ripened tomatoes, and this is how my neighbour, Cheryl, keeps her tomatoes cropping through winter on the Mid-North Coast of NSW. The tomato plants self-seeded in the rose garden in front of her north-facing verandah and, as they grew, she trailed the foliage across the verandah surface. The plants get plenty of sun during the day and the verandah roof keeps the plants warmer at night and protects them from frost. This clever idea has worked very well and Cheryl has so many tomatoes, she has been giving them away.

Tomatoes can also do well during the colder months in pots on a protected north-facing verandah, as the potting mix in black plastic pots stays warmer than soil in garden beds. Fruiting on tomatoes depends on warm air and tomatoes do not need bees for pollination. Don’t forget to water the plants regularly, and give them a light application of complete organic fertiliser as flowers start to form, to ensure a sweet-tasting crop.

5 thoughts on “Winter tomatoes

  1. How do I help to grow tomatoes in my north facing hothouse. I’m in northern Victoria echuca. Cold weather and frosts. But the house maintains a good temp about 20 plus degrees. I have got flower buds on the plants now but wonder when the will open and if they need direct sunlight to open and bees to pollinate. They are a Siberian tomatoes variety. They seem to be strong and healthy. Have you any tips etc to help thanks Brad

    Hi Brad, although Siberian tomatoes are more tolerant of cold than other varieties, they don’t like temperatures below 10° C. Does your hothouse maintain a similar temperature overnight? If not, keep the plants away from the glass walls and, if they are in pots, keep the pots up off the floor of the hothouse. A mistake a lot of people make when growing warmth-loving plants indoors is to put them on a window sill where they get maximum light, but they suffer badly when cold air is transmitted through the glass overnight. Also, cold air flows downwards, and the temperature on the floor of the hothouse will be cooler than the air higher up.
    Warm air stimulates fruiting in tomato plants. These plants are self-pollinating as the flowers contain both male and female parts, and do not need bees or full sunlight to produce fruit. If there is not a lot of air movement in your hothouse, giving the plants a gentle shake when flowers are open will assist pollination, as it simulates breezes they receive in garden beds.
    As your plants are showing flower buds, now is the time to give them a light application of complete organic fertiliser, as tomatoes are heavy feeders. Because you live in a cold area, it wouldn’t hurt to also give them a drink of seaweed extract tea (at very weak black tea strength). This not only helps improve fruit quality, it strengthens cell walls against cold.

  2. I love home grown tomatoes ? so I am going to try and grow them in the winter, some of my plants are on their last legs.
    To much rain in Sydney this season.

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