By Peter D Young
You are probably reading this article because you highly doubt that you can grow tomatoes in the winter and that only the large companies can afford to do this. I am here to tell you that you can really can grow tomatoes in the winter and no you do not have to live in the south. You do not need all the equipment that the companies use to keep their plants healthy during the cold season. As long as you provide your plants with an environment that is conducive to their growth then you can plant them at any time of year.
There are some varieties of tomatoes that will do better than others. These are Tiny Tim tomatoes, Small Fry tomatoes, Pixie tomatoes and Patio tomatoes to name a few. Because these tomato plants are smaller and they will require less lighting, heat, space, water and fertilizer than the more popularly known tomatoes. By growing tomatoes yourself you can be sure that you are getting the highest quality and just not some average tomatoes that were harvested when green, and then sprayed with ethylene and injected with hormones so they can look pretty on your supermarket counter.
To begin with you will need to germinate the seeds in a little pot with some starter potting mix. To save on costs you do not need to purchase pots from the store, instead you can use juice cartons or bottles and cut off the top and use the bottom as your planter. Within 10 days at the most, you should see your little plants springing up.
Once this happens you must now move them to a larger container, as before you can use containers around the house that you would otherwise throw away. Since you are planting in winter you will need to give your plants a little extra of everything but not too much. So they will need additional heat depending on how cold it is and additional fertilizer to push them harder.
You will start giving them fertilizer around two weeks after transplanting them. You will need to do this regularly too but remember not too much at one time. You do not have to water them too often but just ensure that the soil is always moist, not wet, just slightly moist. If it is possible you can put the plants close to windows in the day where they can get some natural light so you can save a little on your electric bill.
You can in fact grow tomatoes in the winter no matter what side of the country you are on. Yes those that live in the south will not need as much warmth and light and may save some more money on their electricity bill than you would but this still does not make planting tomatoes in winter an impossible feat. You will only need to treat your plants with a little more care than you would at any other time of year; they will need more warmth and light and more fertilizer but remember to exercise control so as not to give them too much.
Peter Young is a tomato growing enthusiast.
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