The Q&A Archives: tomatoes in winter

Question: curious living in concord, calif. 94520... are there any tomatoes that will grow here in the winter? if so what kind and what should I plant them in..Thanks dave

Answer: There probably are no tomatoes that will produce for you in the winter. Tomato plants are perennial in the tropics, where the temperatures remain above 70 degrees day and night, but in your region, they will stop growing and probably die during the winter months. I've heard rumors that people have had tomato plants survive by planting them in containers and placing them in protected spots such as porches, and because they have a head start in the early spring, the plants produce tomatoes very early in the season. But basically, tomatoes are warm season plants that require lots of sunshine to thrive. They produce best when insects are active and can transfer pollen (not something that generally happens in the winter). I'm afraid you'll just have to plant your tomato starts in the early spring and then wait enjoy the fruits in the summer. To push the season you can try some short-season varieties for the earliest possible ripening - but be aware that these early season tomatoes won't have the flavor of a beefstake.

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