Prolonging Your Tomato Harvest Through the Winter

Surely by now you have noticed that your tomatoes are not producing like they were in July, and what they are producing is not ripening as fast.  No matter what you do, shorter days and cooler temperatures are going to stop your tomato production almost everywhere but the tropics.  But you can still prolong your access to ripe homegrown tomatoes pretty easily by taking advantage of an easy technique that allows you to eat more of the tomatoes you have already grown, which might otherwise never ripen.

Step One: Uproot Plants

Pull your tomato plants up and shake as much dirt off the roots as you can.  Spray the roots with a hose to get off all the excess dirt on at least a few of your plants.  The rest of them can stay dirty.

Step Two: Hang the Plants

Hang the clean tomatoes indoors, upside down.  The warmer the room you place them in the quicker they will ripen.  So unless you want all of them to ripen at once, it would be wise to place some of them in a cooler room so they can ripen a little slower.

Hang the dirty tomato plants in the garage or other unheated outbuilding, upside down, just like the clean ones.  These tomatoes will ripen slower than those that are hanging inside in the warmth. If you run out of ripe tomatoes from both your “warm” and “not so warm” indoor supplies, you can bring in some of your outdoor plants.

Step Three: Harvest

Check the plants daily, the ripe tomatoes will fall faster when hanging upside down than they would have when growing upright.

While this might not give you a surplus of tomatoes all the way through the winter and into the next spring, it will allow you to eat more of what you have already grown, and will extend how long you do have access to homegrown tomatoes.  It will all depend on how many plants you have and how cold it is where you live.

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