If you live in an area with mild winters, or if you are lucky enough to own a greenhouse, winter tomatoes can be easily grown. The trick is to clone a tomato plant from your summer crop. A clone is an exact replica of the parent. And since it is a clone hybrid plants can be used as well as open pollinated heirlooms.
1. In the middle of July when your tomato plants are healthy and robust choose a side shoot that is without flowers and cut it about 6-8 inches from the top. Caution, do not cut the main grow tip.
2. Put it in water and allow the fine hairs on the stem to develop into roots. Cut off any existing flowers, at this stage we want the energy to go into making new roots and leaves, not flowers.
3. Once you see the roots developing plant them in soil so the new growth is just above the soil line. Keep it well watered during the early stages to allow the roots to develop. A little nutrient fertilizer would be good at this point.
Tips: Thicker stem cuttings did better than thinner stems. Choose smaller tomato varieties like cherry tomatoes or medium sized varieties. Since the daylight hours are shorter in the winter don’t bother with the large beefsteak varieties, they will never get that big during the winter.
Lastly, the tomato plant above is a Japanese Momotaro. In the early Spring we plan on taking a clone from the clone and seeing if it takes. We’ll keep you posted!