Fall Tomatoes in Zone 5?

dan_2007(5)March 31, 2009

This year I started an early tomato In Feb as an experiment to see how early I can harvest tomatoes. I am hoping for June 1st. Here is a photo of the plants:

This has got me thinking if I could start one of these early producing, cold tolerant tomatoes in July/August. Then maybe extend my tomato season late into the fall with a bit of protection as the weather gets colder. Has anyone tried this before?


Check out my veggie garden blog:


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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Just root some cuttings off your existing early plants and plant them in July. If they will make it to production will all depend on your weather and how much protection you can provide. I'd guess you'd 60 good days anyway, maybe a few more. Worth a try. ;)


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:48AM
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tom8olvr(Z5 MA)

Would you need to provide additional 'light'?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 10:35AM
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milwaukeeboy(z5a WI)


What happens to the plants that you set out early in the year? Does production drop off near fall? Is there a reason that one can't keep a plant going strong for an extended season?

I am a chronic late planter so mine are usually going strong when the cold weather comes.

We are in a similar zone, I was wondering how early you typically put your plants out and what protective measures you take.

I am seeding indoors for the first time ever; I have seedlings now so I think I will be faced with some May planting that I have no experience with.

I visited your blog, really nice pictures! Looks like you have a lot of things going on.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 2:58PM
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anney(Georgia 8)


I was wondering the same thing as MilwaukeeBoy -- are your summers so hot or disease-ridden that your tomatoes give up the ghost by Fall? (We have pretty grueling summers here for tomato plants with heat and disease, though most usually rally by Fall and put out a few more fruits before frost kills them.)

If your situation is similar, you might find that rooting a (healthy) sucker/cutting of something you already have growing, as DD suggests, is the easiest way to go for a second crop. You wouldn't have to bother with lights or heat, just stick it into some good soil mix in the shade for about a week, keep moist so the roots can develop, and let it take off. Harden off in the sun and transplant when it's started developing new leaves.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 6:15PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

If you use mulch under your tomatoes, you should be able to keep the same ones cranking till fall. If you cover them a few times, and pick all the green ones before a hard freeze, you could have tomatoes until december at least.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 7:47PM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

As a fellow Zone 5er, I would not bother with a second planting unless you are planting extra early tomatoes. As several have also said, mine are still going strong and usually have a ton of tomatoes on them in various stages of growth.


    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 8:54PM
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digdirt - I had not thought of rooting a cutting, that sounds like a good idea.

tom8olvr - I would not provide extra light, seems like to much work.

milwaukeeboy - Thanks for checking out my blog. I have been placing this early tomato out already in my cold frame but then in again when it gets cold. I am planning on planting it in the soil some time between April 18-May 2. Once it is planted out if we get a cold snap I will cover it with blankets in the evening. The rest of my tomatoes I will be plant out around May 24th.

anney - I do have many tomato plants still with fruit in the fall but the quality definitely goes down and a few plants always get diseased. That's why I thought it might be worth trying a fresh plant in late summer for fall harvest.

sandy0225 - That is another thing I would like to experiment with is storing the green ones so they slowly ripen. How do you store yours?

bets - If I do try it, I will definitely plant an extra early tomato.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2009 at 9:16PM
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