Hibernating tomatoes - illusion or reality?

Hibernating tomatoes - illusion or reality?

Hibernating tomatoes on the windowsill - that's how the plan works

Instead of exposing tomato plants to the dangers of diseases and pests in the field, numerous hobby gardeners grow the vegetables in pots on the windowsill. In view of the limited space available, we recommend small-sized cocktail tomatoes. Old varieties in particular have proven robustness to cope with temperature fluctuations and lack of light during wintering.

  • Amish Cherry: numerous small, orange-colored fruits
  • Red Pearl: juicy red mini fruits with a sweet aroma
  • Balconi Red: dainty growth height up to 50 centimeters
  • Better: German classics, red fruits, robust and resistant

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  • Tomatoes and windowsill - a beneficial combination
  • Growing tomatoes from seeds yourself - this is how it's done

The temperatures on the warm windowsill shouldn't be a problem for the tomato plants during winter. Poor lighting conditions represent a bottleneck. You can compensate for this with the help of suitable plant lamps. A mirror on the south window should be sufficient, which increases the amount of light thanks to reflection. Otherwise, all central maintenance measures remain, such as regular watering, fertilizing and pruning.

This is how tomato plants survive the winter in the greenhouse

Hobby gardeners who own a heated greenhouse do not have to go without freshly harvested tomatoes in winter. A mighty stake tomato will hardly get through the winter in this climate; but there is a good chance of success for small varieties such as cherry tomatoes or wild tomatoes. To put the plan into action:

  • move the pots from the balcony to the greenhouse in late summer or early autumn
  • the tomato plants must be vital and healthy
  • choose the sunniest place as the location
  • illuminate with plant lamps during the critical months of November, December and January
  • Maintain temperatures of 22-24 degrees
  • water and fertilize less
  • watch out for diseases and pests with eagle eyes

Practical tests have shown that leaves and shoots bleach out during the extremely low-light phase. The tomatoes still ripen in the warm greenhouse climate. After the solstice on December 21st, the appearance improves and the tomato plants recover.

Hibernate as cuttings

Robust wild tomatoes can, with a little luck, survive the winter as cuttings on the windowsill, in the conservatory or in the greenhouse. That's how it's done:

  • Cut 8-10 cm long cuttings from healthy tomato plants in August
  • defoliate the lower area
  • root in water in a dark glass
  • then plant in pots with nutritious substrate
  • Cultivate in a bright, warm location, like adult specimens

Tips & Tricks

So that tomato plants do not get overgrown in winter, place the bucket on a turntable by the window. You move it further by 20 degrees every day so that the shoots on the side facing away from the window do not go in search of more light. The specialist trade also offers solar or battery-powered turntables.