Tomatoes are the best plants to grow. Why? Because it’s pretty to look at and there are so many ways to utilize the fruit. But if you live in a cooler climate, it may not be very conducive. It’s not impossible though.
Here are some tips on how to grow tomatoes in the winter.
Why Grow Tomatoes
There are thousands of plants in the world, why should we choose tomatoes? The answer is very simple: it’s something we can eat.
The apocalypse is upon us and it’s dangerous to go outside. Well, if you have tomatoes, then you can afford not to go outside.
If you think that example is laughable, remember that what we are experiencing this year is like nothing we ever imagined before.
I was joking about the apocalypse, but remember what happened at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic? So many governments called for a lockdown and people had to stay at home.
A lot of people actually panicked thinking they won’t be able to stockpile on food.
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Now if you are growing tomatoes
You wouldn’t be among the panicked folks.
There are so many advantages to growing tomatoes:
As we earlier mentioned, if there is another lockdown, you don’t need to panic as you have food right at your backyard–or porch?
You can eat tomatoes as is! You get it from the plant and take a bite–yes, it’s ready to eat. It is a fruit after all. Although, it’s mostly used as a vegetable.
The tomato is so versatile. I mentioned that you can take a bite at it fresh from its stem like an apple. Or you can make juice with it. Tomato juice is so healthy and refreshing.
You can also make a sauce out of tomatoes for your pasta, pizza and other dishes. And what is a BLT sandwich without tomatoes? Many other sandwiches need tomato slices, as well as burgers.
Salads also seem lacking without cherry tomatoes. And there are various other ways to make use of tomatoes. It’s just so versatile.
- Vitamins and minerals
There are so many vitamins from tomatoes, the most popular of which is vitamin C. Other vitamins and minerals found in tomatoes are vitamins A, B1, B3, B5, B6, B7 and K. It also has chromium, iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
The most popular nutrient from tomatoes is lycopene. It is known to control the growth of cancer cells. Lycopene increases when you cook the tomatoes.
- Good for the skin and hair
Lycopene is also a common ingredient in facial cleansers because it is good for the skin. Eating it can be good for the skin, and so does peeling it and using the skin as a face mask.
As for the hair, the vitamin A in tomatoes protects it from being damaged.
There are so many good things about tomatoes, so what are you waiting for?
Perhaps you’re afraid that you can’t grow tomatoes the whole year because you fear that the cold will kill it.
No worries. You can still grow tomatoes during winter.
How to Grow Tomatoes in the Winter
There are actually ways to grow tomatoes in the winter. Here they are:
1. Find the right type
There are many varieties of tomatoes in the market. Find one that is appropriate for the cooler climate.
One way to find out is to buy local seeds. Surely, the seeds grown in the region thrive in the winter.
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Don’t be afraid to ask
When you buy from local plant growers, they would love to share their opinion about growing plants.
Here are some varieties that thrive in cooler climates:
- Alisa Craig
- Red Alert
- Sub-Arctic Plenty
But don’t be limited to these kinds, ask experts.
2. (When indoors) heat the seedlings
Tomatoes can be grown indoors, which is great because the house can protect them from the cold.
But it’s really not enough.
Even if you have a cold-loving tomato, they still really need the heat. In general, tomatoes need heat to grow.
Here’s one home equipment you can use: refrigerator.
Place the seeds in a tray and place the tray on top of the refrigerator.
Yep, it’s that simple!
Experts say that temperatures below 50℉ will result in slow growth. At least there is still growth.
But you don’t exactly want a slow growth, do you?
So keep the tomatoes indoors and near the window sill so it can enjoy some heat.
Here’s another idea:
There are heating mats for seedlings in the market. They are very affordable.
As mat goes, you simply just put the tray of seeds on the mat so they can germinate and propagate.
Again, it’s that simple!
When you grow tomatoes in cooler climates, you just have to be mindful of the plants. Treat it like your own baby–you always make sure that they are warm and comfortable.
3. (When outdoors) cover the plants
You can grow your tomatoes exclusively indoors. However, it is going to be more meticulous especially since tomatoes need a bigger place to grow.
This means that if you are growing them in a pot, you need a large pot.
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So one option is:
To transplant them outside the house.
You are basically throwing the tomatoes to the cold.
You won’t be leaving them without protection.
You know those large soda bottles that you just throw away?
Those are actually useful!
You can use them as shelter to your growing tomatoes.
You just fill these bottles with water and surround the plants with it.
Let me elaborate
The water in the bottles absorb the heat from the sun during the day. The heat will then be released at night.
So the plants will have warmth all day and night–from the sun during the day and from the surrounding bottles during the night.
Here’s a another tip:
You could cover them with cloth at night. Don’t cover them directly or the plants will break.
Use sticks to put the cover fabric up.
You can do this for a week or two
Just enough for the plants to get used to the coldness.
Then of course, there’s the best way:
Having a greenhouse is the best way to grow tomatoes. Don’t worry, the greenhouse doesn’t have to be house-like.
We are so used to seeing a greenhouse that could house hundreds of plants.
Not all greenhouses are that big. In fact, you could make a greenhouse that could not fit a person in.
The idea is that a greenhouse is a place to shelter and grow plants in a more controlled environment.
If you want to help tomato plants survive winter, you should have a bigger greenhouse. This is because you need to place a heater inside.
Don’t be alarmed. Heaters are not that expensive. You don’t have to necessarily buy a greenhouse heater as a space heater will do.
We have a list of the best heaters you can use in your greenhouse. There is a link below.
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Tomatoes are healthy and they can be used in so many different ways. They can be made into a juice, sauce, and ingredients in various dishes like salad and sandwiches. Plus, did you know that you can use the tomato skin as a mask, too?
That’s why, if you are planning on growing plants, tomatoes should be at the top of the list. Worried that it won’t survive the cold? It will!
We have gathered tips on how to grow tomatoes in the winter. They are not difficult to do and they are not expensive at all.
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