Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Winter Tomatoes in Southern California

I have been growing tomatoes in pots in my southern exposure side yard for the last four seasons now.  I have had much success growing them all summer but the growing season always seemed to end in October sometime because the plants just get too "buggy" or the wilts and diseases took hold.  At that time I just conceded and moved on to cool season crops such as lettuce, peas and such and continued having my fun with them.

This fall I discovered some winter-growing tomato varieties. I built some tomato stands to get the plants up into better sunlight and selected the winter varieties - Siberia, Winter Delight, Oregon Winter and Glasnost.  I also planted Early Girl, thinking that a variety that matures in about 50 days might be worth a shot. The Early Girls were planted in early August and the other winter varieties were planted in mid-August. The photo about shows the superb growth that they have all have achieved at this writing at the end of September.  The days are getting shorter and the sun angle is lowering on the horizon but the temperatures are not too much different so far.  I am wondering how flowering and fruit set will be affected as the days become even shorter, the sun angle deceases even more and the temperatures drop further.  I am thinking, maybe too optimistically, about December when we normally get a night or two of pretty good frosts. I think about weather I should be starting to devise ways to cover them up to protect them, especially if they are still producing well. Also, I am wondering what a winter tomato tastes like - probably still better than anything that I could buy at the grocery store.

This is all a great experiment.  If it works - great.  If it doesn't, great too.  I will just move on to better proven cool-season crops.  But I am intrigued with the thought of extending my tomato-growing season.  Those little red globes have brought so much pleasure to me and my family this past summer that I would love to continue it until they compete for my attention with those other red glass globes on my Christmas tree. 

Please visit us at

No comments:

Post a Comment