I have several tomato plants in my greenhouse and summer is coming to an end. I live in Ireland where it's cold most of the time but Autumn and winter can have many frosts. I am new to tomatoes and I do know they are weak when it comes to frost. Are there any ways I could possibly save my tomato plants? I don't just want to harvest them then get rid of them.. Would bringing them indoors be ok? They aren't very big plants. Or could I cut off some shoots and put them in some small conainers with soil or water and let those shoots grow inside over the winter, then move them into the greenhouse when spring comes? Can I please have some tips? Thanks
you said it all yourself;you can either dig up the entire plant and bring it indoors before frost or take cuttings and clone the plants for next year.Bringing the entire plant indoors risks bringing in any pests on the plant or in the soil tho.
So far in experimenting with growing tomatoes indoors during the winter, I have found tomatoes to need really good light and a minimum level of warmth to bloom and set fruits, then to ripen those fruits. My personal conclusion is to grow mostly early maturing small stature (less than 30" in height) determinate tomatoes that would set fruits and ripen by November -- at which point they would decline and die, and only devote large space for 2-3 cool weather tolerant early to mid season indeterminate varieties that are exceptional in flavor. These should set green fruits by December or bloom and set fruits by January.
During the coldest, shortest daylight period between late November and late January, I have found they tend to just sit and not grow and need to be kept well maintained to prevent disease infection and pest infestation.
All in all, small sized hot pepper plants are much easier to keep and fruit over the winter indoors. I just might not grow any tomatoes this winter (gasp! ).
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Since tomatoes need between six and eight hour of sunlight per day to thrive, even indoors you will have to set up lighting that mimics sunlight. The shorter the plant and smaller the fruit size and the larger the container the better for you to have success. For me by November I am tired of growing and I need to rest along with the plants. Peppers are easier for sure. I don't care for small tomatoes so I don't even give it a go in winter.
How big is the greenhouse and how cold does it get in winter? If your plants are in the greenhouse, they're protected from frost, so really, the only thing you have to worry about is freezing. Tomatoes won't set blossoms if the temps are below a certain temp (I forget, 55 degrees F? (12 C)) but the plant will survive if it doesn't freeze.
We have mild winters here; it might get down to freezing a handful of times over winter. I kept tomatoes plants outside over winter using a little heat on the nights it was going to freeze. I put a black trashcan in the greenhouse and filled it with water. During the day, the sun warms the water and at night the water gives off heat back into the greenhouse. On nights it was going to get really cold (really cold, relatively speaking, of course), I put clay pot heaters in there to create more heat. (Watch to see how to make them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6enMQ67zIA)
I have often though about growing tomatoes in a green house all winter. I experimented with a green house 30 years ago, with 8" of snow, 17 degree F temperature, and heavy dark over cast my green house heated up to 70 degrees F during the day that is about 21 degree C. Your greenhouse will need a heater after dark. If you can heat the green house to about 60 degrees F at night tomato plants will still make tomatoes.