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Author Topic: Growing tomatoes inside during winter months.  (Read 7750 times)
Hampton
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« on: August 13, 2007, 07:29:39 PM »

I live in the northeast, is there any reason that an earthbox cannot be used to grow tomatoes indoors during winter season?
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strawberrygirl
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Posts: 362

Zone 6A (NY Metro)


« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2007, 07:43:13 PM »

You'll need lots of sunlight. Can you provide that? Northeast here too -- I know a couple who grows tomatoes straight through to Christmastime, but they have a greenhouse.
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mjb8743
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Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State


« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2007, 07:45:28 PM »

In my opinion, you would never get enough of the right light to develop the sugars as the fruit ripens.... That real tomato taste we all crave every winter when tomatoes ripen under artificial light. I think herbs and leafy greens would be fine-- and peppers, which are good eating when green. Anything that is sweet when ripe needs lots of sun to develop that sweetness.

Mickie
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111 EBs and growing... so how come there are never enough boxes??
gator
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Posts: 163


Anderson,Western SC zone 7


« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2007, 07:54:40 PM »

Hi,
  I believe under the right conditions you could..If you have a sunroom or greenhouse, I think you could easly grow all year long..But the taste of your crops might be a little off..

  I not sure you would want use cold tap water, maybe a touch cool to warm water would be best.. Cold water during the winter might be way to cold.. If you do the experiment, let us know the results

                                            GATOR
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mom2shaggy
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Minersville Pa. Zone 6


« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2007, 01:17:28 AM »

Well, I'm from the northeast also. My house sits below the crest of a hill on the south side. I have a bay window 4' tall by 9' wide that faces south. Thus, in the winter time, the low sun shines into the window more than it does in the summer when it is higher. I have grown a Burpee Brandy Boy in my house in front of this window, over the winter in a large recycling container. The plant did survive. My goal was to just to see if I could keep it as a houseplant. It lived, and it did flower. I had to pollinate by hand. It did not grow tall at all. The tomatoes it produced were tiny, about 2 if I remember correctly. Nothing to write home about. But the foliage did have a nice scent in the dead of winter. And the foliage was not lush because it kept growing in a leggy manner towards the window because it was too big to be in the window. The hardest part about caring for it was trying to get it watered the right way. The heat from the house dried the soil pretty quick, but like I said, it did survive. I did not keep it into the summer afterwards either. I could have made propagating cuttings from it, but I was not interested in doing that. I did not know Earthboxes even existed when I did this. 
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Steve
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Northeast PA, zone 5


« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2007, 09:41:57 PM »

The ideal situation for wintertime growing in the NOrtheast is to supplement the lighting with high output grow lights.  This is not a cheap option, but if you are serious about growing some of these heat-loving, full-sun plants in the winter, its a must.  Even if you have a southern facing window that gets lots of sun all day long, you need to remember that the intensity of the sun's rays is much less during the winter than during the summer.  This is why the tomato described above still looked "leggy" - due to the lack of intense sunlight that the plant needs.

Another consideration is heat.  Most of us keep our homes around 70 during the winter (I would guess).  Plants such as tomatoes will have a difficult time setting fruit at temps this low.  I have tried tomatoes under high intensity lighting indoors with an ambient temp of about 70, and I only had one tiny tomato appear, which stopped growing once it was about 1 inch diameter (no it was not a grape or cherry tomato). 

A greenhouse with supplemental lighting would be ideal, as the daytime temps can get quite warm inside even in the dead of winter.
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Steve
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kathy
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The mountains of PA Zone 5, almost 4.


« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2007, 09:32:56 AM »

I agreee it will be a challenge in the Northeast, we had one of our local retailers trying to grow us some tomatoes in November and December for a January show for EarthBox, he was attempting to grow them in his foliage/display greenhouse, so he had the maxium dose of winter sun. Needless to say the plants were quite leggy and no real fruit and or blossms to speak of....the temps in the greenhouse ranged from 65 to 70. Overall the project was a bust...I think we are better off "extending"  the season a bit by bringing a growing box in to protect it from the fall frosts (I know people that have tomtoes up till Christmas) and extending the season by starting a box indoors, a month early.
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kath, gardening is my game,  over 45 years in the business.
dianasgarden
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Southern New York State, Zone 6


« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2007, 11:10:00 AM »

Thank you Steve and Kathy for giving us the "cold", harsh reality! (and dashing our hopes! sob, whimper, sob).

I guess the best we can do is try to use some old sheets to get through a frost or two, and then hang it up til next Spring.

Year-round tomato gardening would be great. On the other hand, it's nice to have something to look forward to each year, and not take the tomatoes for granted.

Diana
« Last Edit: August 17, 2007, 01:03:43 PM by dianasgarden » Logged

Diana
I write consumer reviews and articles (some about Earthboxes!) at Epinions.com (my "name" there is dianapinions) and at AssociatedContent.com (where I am known as dianasgarden). Stop in and say Hi if you see me there!
Eaglesno1
Active Member
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Posts: 24

Egg Harbor Township, NJ-Zone 7


« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2007, 12:46:14 PM »

You could always get one of those hydrogrowers, they sell it at ace and qvc, I don't remember the name.
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carolg
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Denver, CO zone 5


« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2007, 01:34:42 AM »

I may be trying tomatoes in my sunroom this winter.  I am concerned about the termps as it does sometimes dip to cold in there, but when sun shines it can be an easy 80+ in that room.  Plenty of light obviously.  At nght wondering if the plants  just go to sleep like they do in summer, so not much of a concern.  When we have those few cloudy days I am concerned as the room would be darkened so the lighting would be something need to know more about.  What kind of lighting do I need? Where do I find it?  All details welcome as I think ahead.

I am still going to try to drag my  EB boxes in with it's produce when winter shows up to see if I can buy time with my EB.  I have heard of a lady local too who does grow tomatoes, cukes, etc. in the garage, where she has light all winter long in containers as she doesn't own any EB.

carolg z5 co
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Steve
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Northeast PA, zone 5


« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2007, 05:35:31 PM »

If your sunroom can get into the 80's during the day, great!  What are the nighttime temps?  And you'll still have to consider the lighting issue.  But if you can eliminate temperature as one potential problem, you're one step closer to winter time veggies  Smiley
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Steve
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