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Do tomatoes ever overwinter and go for a second year?

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Do tomatoes ever overwinter and go for a second year?

It's autumn here.

A couple of weeks ago I was cleaning up brown, dry, dead-ish tomato plants and started by cutting them off a few inches above ground level with the secateurs, meaning to come along later and pull out the root balls and deal with the remainders of the soil in the containers.

Since then, they've sprouted new leaves and are growing back rather nicely. Since we have mild winters with very little frost, I have a suspicion they might make it through until spring.

Has anyone had experience with overwintered tomatoes? Do they fruit in the second year? Is it worth it?


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Posted by tiki19 on June 16, 2013 at 10:39

An experienced Melbourne gardener I knew always said YES!. He thought the fruit he got the second year was far better than the first crop, though he admitted it could take a bit of work to nurse them through the frosts and cold snaps (they really don't like cold soil). I've not yet overwintered tomatoes myself, but I'm in Perth now (formerly Melbourne) so probably could run them as an all-year crop. I decided this year to take them out in autumn when the main crop had finished as I was fighting too many pests for too little fruit at that point.

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Posted by naturedance on June 19, 2013 at 20:00

I've heard rumors of overwintering tomato plants here in my area of southern California... so far none of mine have seemed thus inclined (although plenty of mine were still cheerfully ripening fruit as late as December and January during a mild year), but I have had overwintered unexpected sweet peppers and overwintered unexpected eggplants from plants that I'd nipped off assuming they were dead and then forgot to pull the rootballs out, so I say: if you've got space for an experiment in your garden, and you liked the variety of tomato, then if the tomato plant seems inclined to put up new leaves, go ahead and let the plant try! :-)

Once I noticed the overwintered plants were sending up new growth, I watered with liquid fertilizer / worm tea since the plant wouldn't get the benefit of the compost that I was lightly turning in to the rest of the garden bed. The overwintered eggplant and pepper plants seemed to appreciate the boost.

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Posted by Michelle on July 30, 2013 at 18:54

I have just joined, so apologies for the late response.

I have just this week read an article about tomatoes living many years. But that was in Israel. The plants were on a solid frame and were huge.

In New Zealand (Wanganui) I knew someone who did a horticulture course. They had a glass house And grew plants that gave tomatoes from year to year.