Winter is a season that is dreadful to a number of plants and the tomato plant happens to be one of them.
Tomato plants thrive well and are at their prime in places with warm temperatures and enough light.
These conditions are nonexistent during the winter season and this only means one thing, which is that your tomato plants are unlikely to survive the winter season if they are not well taken care of.
There are a number of ways to get tomato plants through winter and all these requires a lot of effort to ensure that your plants remain intact throughout winter and into the warmer seasons.
You will notice that growth will be minimal during this season but not to worry since the plants will for sure resume the growth process once winter is over.
Here are a few ways to get tomato plants through winter or in other words winterize them:
Cover your plants with frost blankets
Most damage to tomato plants is as a result of longer frost duration on the plants and not necessarily the cold temperatures. It is therefore important to shield the plants from frost using frost blankets.
In the event you are unable to secure a frost blanket then something like an old sheet that is enough to cover your plants will work just as well. Ensure that you cover your plants overnight then remove the covers the next morning.
Provide an appropriate temperature for your plants
As mentioned above, tomato plants thrive well under warm conditions. Optimum temperature conditions are essential for successful fruiting of the tomato plant. For proper fruiting as well as the proper growth of the tomato plant then room temperatures ranging from fifty-five to ninety degrees Fahrenheit are required.
Provide sufficient light
Sufficient light goes hand in hand with optimum temperature conditions in the promotion of fruiting and healthy growth in the tomato plants. It is therefore vital that your indoor tomato plants are provided with the adequate lighting they need for proper growth.
Such light can easily be obtained from fluorescent light fixtures. These fixtures are furnished with a warm and cool white light tube supply of the proper spectrum of light. Ensure that you adjust these fixtures to a height that is about six inches above the plants.
For dwarf plants, the fixture works just well on its own whereas a reflector is required for the indeterminate plants so that light can be directed onto the sides of the plants. Such light should be provided for sixteen hours after which the plants are to go without lighting each night for eight hours.
Give your plants ample care
Since most winter tomato plants are indoor plants they do not at all benefit from Mother Nature’s bounties such as the rain as well as pollination induced by agents of nature. This, therefore, means that you have to take up these tasks.
When it comes to watering, it is important to ensure that the soil that your plants are growing on is ever moist. Avoid flooding the plants with water as this poses a risk of promoting root rot. To maintain proper moisture balance in the soil, always water the plant when the topsoil is about one to two inches dry.
Pollination as you will agree with me has to be initiated somehow seeing that agents like wind and insects are out of the picture. One way to do this is by gently shaking the plants when they are flowering.
You can alternatively blow a fan over the plants during the flowering period.
The tomato plant just like other plants requires nutrients and minerals during its growth for better produce. What better way to provide these nutrients than through a fertilizer that is formulated particularly for tomatoes? Such fertilizer is soluble in nature and is to be applied every two weeks.
Mentioned above are just but some of the ways through which you can winterize your tomato plants. It is evident that winterizing tomato plants is not at all easy and requires a lot of input for the plants to survive the dreadful season of winter.
However, nothing but a bountiful harvest in the warmer seasons succeeding the winter season can prove all the winter effort to be totally worth your while.