What is the best thing to do with tomato vines over winter?

I am going to have to make a decision regarding the tomatoes I grew in tubs on the porch over the summer. This is the first time I tried my had at container gardening, so I'm not sure what to do. A hard freeze is predicted Friday night - bring them indoors as is, cut them back and bring indoors, take cuttings to root for next year or just let them freeze. I would have to struggle to find a good spot to bring them inside - the good spots are already taken by my established house plants. Sunny spots are at a premium in winter here. There still have a few straggler tomatoes on the vines. I feel sad in a way after raising them from seed and all the haphazard care I lavished on them over the summer.


BYW - the yellow is not the tomato plants - they are leaves blown off the maple tree nearby and caught in the tendrils.

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7 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    In places where you get hard freezes, or even light freezes and cold weather, you usually treat tomatoes as an annual plant.  That means that in the fall, once they have stopped producing tomatoes--in my location, that's about the end of August, and we had the first frost two nights ago--most people throw them out, into the compost or in the green waste bin or the garbage. It's possible to overwinter them, but I've never known of anyone actually doing it. Google 'overwintering tomato plant' and see if you can supply the right conditions. If you have any ripe tomatoes, you could also try saving the seed and growing that in spring. A friend of mine has grown his tomatoes that way for years.

  • 4 weeks ago

    You can pull the plants up roots and all--shake off some of the dirt left on the roots, remove any partially ripened tomatoes, and for the rest, hang the entire plant upside down (roots up) in a cool, dry place (i.e. a basement). The green tomatoes left on the vines will continue to ripen very slowly. 

    This is one way to deal with the frost. You can also "wrap" them in blankets for the night. Wrap the whole pot and the top of the plants, and wait to do this until dusk, so they get as much light as possible before that. This solution will only work for a single night or two--it's not a long-term solution. 

    Or put them into a greenhouse or plant cloche--something that will warm the air around them during the daylight hours and release the warm air at night. Look this up on Google for how to make one. 

  • Ann
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Tomatoes are annual plants, and they need to be planted every year.  You can take up the vines, cut them up and mix them into your compost pile for next spring's plantings. 

  • 1 month ago

    Most Tomato plants are determinate and they are ALL annuals.  Annuals need to be replanted every year.

    Determinate plants produce a certain amount of fruit or veggies before they 'shut down'.

    Pull up the vines...your tomatoes are finished.  Dig composted manure in to your pots and be ready to start tomato seeds inside in March so you can grow more next year.

    (I've been doing the home garden thing on a 1/3 acre plot for 40 years now.  I usually can put away enough veggies to last all winter.  It is fun, you will come to love this!)

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  • Edwena
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    The idea is to produce tomatoes and to do that you need vigorous plants.  Buy new ones new year.  Pull up your old plants and super-up your soil with organics this winter in preparation for the new plants next spring.  You might also want to watch your deck for rotting under those pots.

  • 1 month ago

    Typically I replant tomatoes every year.  They grow quickly.  If you want to try to save them, cut them back a bit, move the containers up against the house, and put plastic or a sheet over them.  Next to the house is warmer.  If you can get them on a porch or under an overhang that is even better.  

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    its alittle early to deal with them .. the best plan of attack is to get a grow light and start new ones from seed about the end of february in some small peat pots .. transplant those into deeper cups after they get up alittle ways and bury the stem deep so they grow a nice root system in the cup over the next few weeks .. then when the frosts are over they'll be a foot or so tall and ready to be planted out ..

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