Kathy Mast

Look closely and you can see new green tomatoes growing on Kathy Mast’s indoor Black Krim bush.

Her sunroom becomes home to tomatoes

Published: Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 - 12:00 am

Sacramento Bee readers share their gardening adventures.

Tomatoes in January? Sure, we started the new year with plenty of warm weather, but harvesting ripe home-grown tomatoes is another matter.

Kathy Mast of Sacramento figured out a way to prolong her tomato harvest into deep winter. She brought a potted tomato plant indoors.

“A week before our first hard freeze (in December), I brought my Black Krim onto my southern exposure sunroom,” Mast said. “The room is quite warm during the winter (75 to 85 degrees). I had two green tomatoes at that time and have enjoyed them both.

“I now have five small new tomatoes growing,” she added. “I wish I’d brought in the other two plants. The process is slower, probably because it’s too cool at night, but it’s been a fun experiment.”

Mast’s container-grown Black Krim is a grafted tomato from Might ’Mato. The grafting adds stronger roots to the heirloom variety and helped it to succeed as a container-grown plant. Since the plant has moved indoors, Mast feeds it once a week with fish emulsion fertilizer.

Mast, who lives in the Arden area, wasn’t the only local gardener to enjoy ripe tomatoes from their garden long after they were supposed to be out of season.

“I keep reading about plants still loaded with green tomatoes that went off with the frost,” said reader Margaret Baker, who grew “tons” of Romas and cherry tomatoes. “Right before the hard frost, we pulled up our straggling tomato plants here in Nevada City and harvested baskets of green tomatoes. We stored them in the laundry room and continued to enjoy ripening tomatoes into December. I also experimented with many delicious green tomato recipes.”

TELL US ABOUT YOUR GARDEN ADVENTURES

Do you have a gardening photo, tip or story to share? Or do you want to publicize a community garden event or activity? Post your news via our virtual SacBee Garden at www.facebook.com/SacBeeGarden. Also, email your submissions to h&g@sacbee.com (put “SacBee Garden” in the subject line). Or mail it to: SacBee Garden, Home & Garden, Sacramento Bee, P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA



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