Thursday, April 21, 2016

Accidental Indoor/Outdoor Tomatoes By Ed Powers

When we're adrift in a sea of tomatoes, why a column about growing more tomatoes?

Last spring/summer I planted several varieties of Russian and American heirloom tomato seeds.  At the same time a flower basket of Petunias I planted from the previous year seeded itself and began to grow. Unfortunately we had illness in the family and I was unable to plant in the garden. So they along with other vegetables and flowers were left under plastic covers in small pots not in the ground.

Outdoor tomatoes in the house in September.
By late September I decided to throw away all the plants and I discovered that several Tomatoes and the Petunias had survived and were growing in a limited way.  The root systems had broken through the plastic pots in a limited manner.  Most of tomatoes were 2 or 3 Russian varieties and 1 American variety.  I did not have the heart to destroy them.  So I researched CSU, Michigan State and the University of Nebraska (my alma mater) agricultural information on moving outdoor vegetables indoor for the winter.  There was no or very little info on this subject. So, I moved ahead and planted them in several larger pots and brought them and the Petunias inside.  
Tomatoes in the house in April.
Tomato Fruit started outdoor finished growing and ripening indoor
It is now the middle of April and the Tomato plants have ripened one fruit and the Petunias are blooming and continue to grow.  However, one thing I have noticed: the larger they all grow in the pots, the more water they are requiring. They require watering every day and have grown to over 24 inches in the pots.  They also need fertilizing every 1 to 2 weeks which is more than when they are outdoors.

The Tomatoes had flowers all winter but no fruit.  There is a yellow blossom in the upper left center of this picture.

Should they survive I will be moving them outdoors in late May or early June.  Needless to say they will go under clear plastic tents to begin with.

Petunias indoor in April.  They have bloomed all winter.

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