Test of Extremely Cold Hardy Tomato

loufloralcityz9December 6, 2010

I will be doing a test of an extremely cold hardy tomato plant which has been known to survive through frosts and snowfalls. Is anyone familiar with the 'Northern Nibbler Tomato'?

The writeup states;

"Great tasting tomatoes vary in size between 1 and 3 inches in diameter. Can be planted outdoors up to 2 months early. I have actually had these plants survive early spring snow storms. Perfect for the Northern gardener."

I will be trying to grow this tomato as my winter garden tomato, but I wonder if anybody else has tried it in their Central Florida winter garden? It will be great if it does all it says.


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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


The neighbor tried one of those type tomatoes. The kind that say they will take frost and cold. It died last winter before fruiting but last winter was brutal and it does not say it is freeze proof. She is trying it again this winter, while I faithfully cover my 8 foot tall plants loaded with green tomatoes.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 8:36AM
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I was looking for a tomato plant that could take the light frosts we get in the wintertime and not the hard freezes. Last Jan it hit 15F here. The first part of this week looks to be hard freeze warnings with lows in the lower 20's Mon, Tue, Wed nights. I hope your tomatoes make it through. This global warming really sucks. I will have to cram more stuff into my greenhouses today.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 10:07AM
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flyingfish2(9b w stuart)

Yea , even down south doesn't seem to be any different, we may see the 20's here tonight nw of stuart.

I rolled 14 5 gal bucket container tomatoes into the hangar tonight, covered 2, left 2 uncovered on the south side of hangar, and put 3 with a fungus on them together under the house south side.

covered green beans and young orange trees.

Picked the remaining citrus.

Had a hot shower and about to turn in early :>)

It is supposed to break the coldest night on record for dec 6th by 6 degrees here tonight.Will see what tomorrow brings, colder tomorrow night.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 7:43PM
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A freak snow fall in late spring up north is a different thing from the radiative freezing we are having now in florida. The former is protective, the latter destructive.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 6:03AM
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Good point, but at $1.59 for 40+ seeds it's worth giving it a try as far as I'm concerned. It may turn out to be a oood tomato to set out in Feb where we get occasional light early morning quick frosts. Veggie gardening in Fl is so varied year to year even with the same named plants.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 8:04AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


Something else to consider......... Last year mid February when the weather warmed a bit I bought two good sized tomato plants that I hoped would be a quick start to the garden. I took great pains to protect them and covered them on the cold nights. On March 15th I planted the tomato plants that I started myself. Want to guess which plants produced fruit first? Yep, mine. The 2 plants I bought just sat there in the cold soil and did next to nothing until the weather warmed. At that point they took off but so did the plants planted a month later. So basically I protected those plants for a month for nothing, lesson learned.

While those supposed frost hardy plants might take the cold, the real question is will they grow and produce in the cold? Should be interesting to see.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 9:05AM
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Another good point, I'm probably spitting into the wind with the tomato testing, but it don't hurt to try different things. It seems tomatoes have a 'Goldilocks' zone of growing, not too hot - not too cold - but just right.

I probably wont get good year-round growing here until I set up my hydroponics & aquaponics greenhouse projects.

Last night it hovered right around 32F here and I had patchy spots of frost at first light, the cattle farmers pasture was the same with white patches scattered over it especially in the low lying areas. I see Inverness was a couple of degrees warmer according to the computer weatherbug program.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 9:50AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


My gauge said 29 this morning but it reads a bit colder than it is. I stuck a orange with the meat thermometer and it read 34 so will go with that. I did not see any frost and I think it did not get as cold as they had predicted. Tonight is supposed to be colder though.

Experimenting is one of the things that keeps life interesting. I would love to have fresh garden tomatoes all winter, just don't want to build a green house lol. If they can develop a tomato that will produce all winter it would be awesome.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 10:12AM
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Here in altoona freshly worked ground from the other day, well soaked, was frozen about a half inch this morning. Chard was frozen solid, as were citrus halves in the compost pile. Just darn cold.

Hard to imagine any tomato no matter how bred could survive it, but as you say it's cheap to find out. I reckon my pigeon peas are killed.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 2:03PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Lou

Looking for a good tomato? aren't we all,lol. I decided that the perfect tomato does not exist because we always want to try something better. The fun is in the trying.

Talking about cold hardy tomatoes, I grew one winter in Arizona the variety Oregon spring, it did produce earlier in colder weather but because it was the only tomato to try, I did and of course wanted something better.

Probably the best bets are tomatoes from colder regions, like Russia, Czechoslovakia, Canada? there are a bunch of those varieties and again when we get the very hot weather they won't be good.

I picked my green tomatoes today because I believe nothing is going to ripen with this weather, cold and windy. On the good news I still have the dwarf tomatoes and most of them are Russian, at least I was prepared for this, lol.

Lou, when you find the fountain of youth, please let me know...:) I can live without tomatoes,lol.


    Bookmark   December 7, 2010 at 3:32PM
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flyingfish2(9b w stuart)

Hi Lou,

Sounds like you better send my some "extreme cold hardy tomatoes seeds" for next year LOL. It has been hard frost and 29 degrees 2 mornings in a row.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 6:54AM
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It's 21F here this morning. I guess I will have to look for tomato varieties from Siberia or Iceland. With temps in the low 20's first part of Dec what is it going to be like in Jan this winter? I went outdoors this morning with a hot cup of coffee and it froze so fast the ice was still warm!


    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 7:28AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Lou and Bernie - I guess we have a lot in common today,lol, we are all frozen! I took my dog on the trail this morning with winter coat and gloves and it was still cold, nobody was walking either.

Lou, don't get the Siberian tomato, I did not like the flavor, on the other hand have you seen the veggies from Alaska? they are huge!


    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 7:33AM
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I saw those huge heads of cabbage they grow in Alaska, so big they would not fit in a bushel basket. 24 hours of sunlight for 6 months makes veggies grow huge.

When I tried to let the cat out this morning it stuck it's nose out the door, turned around, ran and hid under the bed.


    Bookmark   December 8, 2010 at 7:51AM
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I will be doing a thread or maybe a section on cold tolerant types in the future at Tomato Depot.

Here's what I did in 2010!

Here is a link that might be useful: Experimental garden gets snow

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 1:00PM
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We do not have tomato varieties in Iceland. Actually gardening is not popular here. But I am growing this spring as many cold hardy varieties as possible and see which plants stand the occasional spring frost and snow. Anyways our problem is really cold summers, colder than Alaska, but we do have plenty of sun.

Varieties to try could be: siberian tomatoes, stupice, northern nibbler, golden nudge....

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 7:45AM
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I always wonder what food crops can produce in Iceland.

Hey Lou, the everglades cherry: before that last frost i had set out some sizable plants that had self-sown last fall in a container. The freeze killed the plants to the ground, but yesterday i noticed one had a fresh spout coming out of the stalk just above ground level. What a madly tough well-adapted creature that cherry is. There is another self-sown near my folks pool that is flowering and bearing now.

I think I'll take some suckers back north and see what it does there.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:29PM
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I'm new to Florida and gardening (officially 1yr now). I have some purple heirloom tomatos that I planted too late, thinking 2011/12's "winter" (unusually warm) was the Florida norm.

Well this year is a different story but amazingly these babies are still producing! I did lose a couple of the strugling ones to frost but all of them had fruit on them before perishing. Oddly enough, the thriving, surviving ones are not the ones getting the most sunlight. In fact, you can tell that they were planted by a rookie..too close together, improperly supported, planted at the most shaded end of the garden bed.
I did cover them on cold days & nights with the green tarp from Home Depot and less than 5% of foliage has been lost to frost. They're all with thick foliage and blossoming regularly. Photos later!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 6:55PM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

Green, do you know which varieties those are? I am always on the lookout for a good fall tomato.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 10:22AM
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BTW the test on the cold hardy tomato I tried to grow here failed miserably. The Northern Nibbler got nibbled by a southern frost. A greenhouse is still the best way to go for growing winter tomatoes. I think it is the extreme wide swings we get in the temperatures of 80's during the day and a mid 20's overnight cold snap.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:52PM
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bugbite(z9a FL)

Had 6 tomatoes plants come up around the yard, different places in the fall/winter. Have no idea where they came from. I put them in pots. Saw a new one come up in the last couple of days.
Had about 12 "sprouting bracolli" plants come up in the fall.
Never planted those before.
Must be the elephant manure from the zoo.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 3:46PM
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