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Tomato Growing in Cold Climate

Updated on February 22, 2011
I love the taste of fresh tomatoes!
I love the taste of fresh tomatoes!

Cold Weather Tomato Growing Strategies

Tomatoes are one of the perfect garden plants, but if you live in a cold climate, especially with limited sunshine, you will often end up with a bunch of green tomatoes that never ripen. Tomatoes love sunshine and warmth. Here are some tricks for cold climate tomato growing.

1) Find a sunny exposure that is backed by a wall. If you live in a windy area, it helps to have wind breaks on the sides, not to protect the tomatoes from the wind, but to help the ground get warmer.

2) Sometimes, white paint will make a good reflector to get more sunlight on your plants, but better yet is to line the back wall will aluminum foil. This will reflect more sunlight onto your plants.

3) Before you plant your tomatoes, put a sheet of black plastic on the ground around where you plan to put them. This will help absorb the heat from the sun and also create an air barrier that will help hold heat in longer after sundown.

4) Grow the seeds indoors to allow the plants to get a good start. If you a have a sunny window, be sure to use it for your seedlings. If sun is scarce, then put some foil in the planter to reflect more sunlight onto your plant.

5) Some varieties of tomatoes grow much better in cooler weather. Not surprisingly, they are named after cold weather places, like Alaska, Andes, or Russia.

6) When the growing season starts to end, cut way back on watering. Drought will often signal to the plant that it needs to hurry and ripen its fruit. Just don't cut back so much that the plant starts to die or that you get blossom rot. You can prune away some of the less mature fruits to channel more nutrients towards your healthier tomatoes.

7) If all else fails, you might want to build a small greenhouse. In some cooler places, that is the only possible solution.

8) If the weather is turning frigid and your tomatoes still haven't ripen, sometimes you can cut the plant off at the base and bring it indoors. Remove the tomatoes that are the farthest from ripening, then hang the plant upside down. The plant will then send its remaining nutrients to the tomato fruit and also send hormonal signals to the fruit to accelerate ripening.

Hopefully, these ideas will help you out. Happy Gardening!

Upside Down Tomatoes

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