TEWNCfarms
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Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

So I'm trying to keep tomatoes harvesting all year round in zone 8a southeastern coastal NC. Is this possible without a green house? I was going to get garden cloth to cover them in winter before a freeze. And now during the high rain humidity and heat I was thinking of maybe a suncloth? What do you think? And then start seeds around Christmas give or take in a mini greenhouse/hot frame and transplant out beginning of march, cover with cloth if freeze comes.

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applestar
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Re: Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

Tomatoes are too temperature (and light) sensitive to survive and keep producing when it's freezing weather without proper protection. All you can do is protect them from freezing when they already have mature fruits on.

Tomato plants get tired and diseased as they get older so it's better to have vigorously growing new plants. Have you started some seeds now for fall/winter harvest?

I grow my "winter" tomatoes indoors in the house and grow varieties that can be grown in containers. I have mine started and they are ready for first uppot with true leaves. If you have the room, you can grow ones that can be grown in 5 gal. buckets and grow to about 4 feet. I mostly stick with ones that can manage in 2-3 gal and grow to less than 28-30"

After sprouting in warmer temperatures, growing seedlings need it to be 50°F or higher -- I've tried starting them as early as early Feb in the unheated garage and found they are stressed and slow, later sowed starts easily caught up with the earlier ones.
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TEWNCfarms
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Re: Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

applestar wrote:Tomatoes are too temperature (and light) sensitive to survive and keep producing when it's freezing weather without proper protection. All you can do is protect them from freezing when they already have mature fruits on.

Tomato plants get tired and diseased as they get older so it's better to have vigorously growing new plants. Have you started some seeds now for fall/winter harvest?

I grow my "winter" tomatoes indoors in the house and grow varieties that can be grown in containers. I have mine started and they are ready for first uppot with true leaves. If you have the room, you can grow ones that can be grown in 5 gal. buckets and grow to about 4 feet. I mostly stick with ones that can manage in 2-3 gal and grow to less than 28-30"

After sprouting in warmer temperatures, growing seedlings need it to be 50°F or higher -- I've tried starting them as early as early Feb in the unheated garage and found they are stressed and slow, later sowed starts easily caught up with the earlier ones.
Yeah I started mine two days before the last full moon about two weeks ago. Staying outside...

Yeah I was going to make a hot frame/greenhouse that is heated by fresh manure in the bottom so it stays up to temp

imafan26
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Re: Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

Tomatoes can only be grown year round in frost free environments unless, like Applestar, you have the conditions to grow them indoors.
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TEWNCfarms
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Re: Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

imafan26 wrote:Tomatoes can only be grown year round in frost free environments unless, like Applestar, you have the conditions to grow them indoors.
Well what I was going to do was put frost covers over them when frost hit, like last year we literally had only like 3 frosts total! A lot times we had mild beautiful days for most of the time, kind of weird honestly.

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applestar
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Re: Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

Are you seriously interested in trying this and asking for advice? I would summarize what I've found out so far from overwintering tomatoes several years (and btw I recommend you also consider peppers which are easier) ....But not if you are just being argumentative.


You could also try reading some of my winter indoor tomatoes and pepper's and garden threads. I think there is one for every winter for the past maybe 4 years? Longer? Special note -- aphids.


Ha. It's hot. Maybe I'm grumpy. :>
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TEWNCfarms
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Re: Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

applestar wrote:Are you seriously interested in trying this and asking for advice? I would summarize what I've found out so far from overwintering tomatoes several years (and btw I recommend you also consider peppers which are easier) ....But not if you are just being argumentative.


You could also try reading some of my winter indoor tomatoes and pepper's and garden threads. I think there is one for every winter for the past maybe 4 years? Longer? Special note -- aphids.


Ha. It's hot. Maybe I'm grumpy. :>
Haha no not trying to argue, I'm just saying I'm going to give it a shot the weather has been warmer and I think I could get at least an extra month out of them. Haha I think you should be growing something that mellows you out inside instead of tomatoes;)

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lakngulf
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Re: Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

I have tried greenhouse tomatoes. I get good vine growth, some blooms, but either not enough sun to set the fruit or I just won't keep the spot warm enough. Not worth the effort.
Now trying to have tomatoes from June 1 to Dec 1 is more doable, but still a difficult task.
I can handle early June thru mid July, but hard to keep plants going during the brutal heat we have in July and August, and some of September.
In one garden I use a sun cloth other the tomatoes for protection. In another garden I plant those late tomatoes in between standing rows of harvested corn. The stalks provide some needed shade for the young plants.
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TEWNCfarms
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Re: Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

lakngulf wrote:I have tried greenhouse tomatoes. I get good vine growth, some blooms, but either not enough sun to set the fruit or I just won't keep the spot warm enough. Not worth the effort.
Now trying to have tomatoes from June 1 to Dec 1 is more doable, but still a difficult task.
I can handle early June thru mid July, but hard to keep plants going during the brutal heat we have in July and August, and some of September.
In one garden I use a sun cloth other the tomatoes for protection. In another garden I plant those late tomatoes in between standing rows of harvested corn. The stalks provide some needed shade for the young plants.
Thanks for the reply! Yeah I was looking into shade cloth but it's pretty expensive compared to frost cloth... unless you know of cheap shade cloth? Yeah the heat and humidity and heavy rains have been ruining my crop lately

imafan26
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Re: Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

Shade cloth is expensive up front but it is useable for many years.
The other thing that can be done instead of shade cloth is phylon or a lath house. A lath house would be 50% shade and maybe that might be too much but it is shifting shade. Phylon in the lighter colors will add more light and it does protect it from the rain too.
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TEWNCfarms
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Re: Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

imafan26 wrote:Shade cloth is expensive up front but it is useable for many years.
The other thing that can be done instead of shade cloth is phylon or a lath house. A lath house would be 50% shade and maybe that might be too much but it is shifting shade. Phylon in the lighter colors will add more light and it does protect it from the rain too.
Awesome thanks! I'll have to look into that. What's your hardiness zone? Do you get hit with heavy fungi in Hawaii?

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Gary350
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Re: Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

About 1982 or 1983 I used double glass from several sliding glass patio doors to build a green house for the purpose of having tomatoes all winter. I built the green house the length of 4 sheets of glass, they were 32" wide by 6' 2" tall. That made the green house length = to 32" x 4 plus the width of the boards between the glass and boards on both ends. Green house was 4' wide with a door on one end. It was framed with 2x4 boards with 1/2" plywood covering. I used a 1500 watt electric space heater to keep the green house warm at night. The heater was connected to a 45 degree snap disc $2 thermostat to make the heater come on when it got cold at night. Glass was only on the south side. On a very over cast day 15 degrees outside the green house heated up to 68 to 70 degrees when sun came up. On a sunny day green house got up to 95 degrees. The green house got warmer inside if there was snow on the ground I guess sunlight reflected off the snow into the green house and made it warmer. I planted the tomato plants inside the green house in mid Sept and left both ends open until cold weather. After we started having frost I covered the ends and left the door open all day. When freezing weather came the door had to be closed. Everything was doing good until we had -17 below temperatures first week of Feb the 1500 watt heater was too small not enough insulation in the green house tomatoes died. A green house really needs to be automatic with cooling fans when it gets too hot and heater when it gets too cold and thermostats to make them come on/off automatic.

The year before the green house I stacked cement blocks in a rectangle shape 4ft wide, 11ft long 4ft tall with glass over the top. Blocks were not cemented together. Stacked cements blocks kept out frost only not cold weather. This was good enough to have ripe tomatoes for Christmas day but tomatoes all died 4 days later.

I am in a warmer zone than you, 30 miles south of Nashville TN i have no clue what zone I am in. I think zones are for new gardeners that don't know when they have frost. You can not count of zones being correct our last frost is usually April 15 but we had 90 degree weather this year in Feb and 85 deg in March then cold weather in April then it warmed up as usually then a late frost first week of May.

TEWNCfarms
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Re: Summer & Winter Tomatoes Zone 8a?!?

Gary350 wrote:About 1982 or 1983 I used double glass from several sliding glass patio doors to build a green house for the purpose of having tomatoes all winter. I built the green house the length of 4 sheets of glass, they were 32" wide by 6' 2" tall. That made the green house length = to 32" x 4 plus the width of the boards between the glass and boards on both ends. Green house was 4' wide with a door on one end. It was framed with 2x4 boards with 1/2" plywood covering. I used a 1500 watt electric space heater to keep the green house warm at night. The heater was connected to a 45 degree snap disc $2 thermostat to make the heater come on when it got cold at night. Glass was only on the south side. On a very over cast day 15 degrees outside the green house heated up to 68 to 70 degrees when sun came up. On a sunny day green house got up to 95 degrees. The green house got warmer inside if there was snow on the ground I guess sunlight reflected off the snow into the green house and made it warmer. I planted the tomato plants inside the green house in mid Sept and left both ends open until cold weather. After we started having frost I covered the ends and left the door open all day. When freezing weather came the door had to be closed. Everything was doing good until we had -17 below temperatures first week of Feb the 1500 watt heater was too small not enough insulation in the green house tomatoes died. A green house really needs to be automatic with cooling fans when it gets too hot and heater when it gets too cold and thermostats to make them come on/off automatic.

The year before the green house I stacked cement blocks in a rectangle shape 4ft wide, 11ft long 4ft tall with glass over the top. Blocks were not cemented together. Stacked cements blocks kept out frost only not cold weather. This was good enough to have ripe tomatoes for Christmas day but tomatoes all died 4 days later.

I am in a warmer zone than you, 30 miles south of Nashville TN i have no clue what zone I am in. I think zones are for new gardeners that don't know when they have frost. You can not count of zones being correct our last frost is usually April 15 but we had 90 degree weather this year in Feb and 85 deg in March then cold weather in April then it warmed up as usually then a late frost first week of May.
Cool thanks for the response! But yeah I'm Definitely in a warmer much more humid climate than you, I Am in Wilmington, NC which is below the entire state of TN and against the coast. Our first frost is near the end of November and last frost is right after the beginning of march. We Literally had like only 3 Nights of Frost this past winter, and that was hardly below 30. We Rarely get below 20, that's like only once every few years. I'm interested to see what I can do... at the very least I'm building a hot frame to start my seedlings at the new year

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