Friday, August 10, 2012

The Siberian Tomato Conspiracy

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

These are not my Siberian Tomatoes, and this is not my picture, this is (was) just my dream: Tomatoes in winter! And this is what sucked me in:

"Tomatoes in 60 Days! Plants set fruit at low temperatures, Produce extra early yields, frost resistant, too! Siberian tomatoes really do come from Siberia, producing juicy, flavourful, smooth, round fruit up to 225g (1/2lb) in size as early as 60 days from setting out plants. The plants produce delicious tomatoes ahead of other varieties because Siberians do not require high temperatures to set fruit like other tomatoes - just a few degrees above freezing is all the warmth they need."

(From Australian Seeds, and I avoid promoting websites or products, but they have some interesting stuff and I must reference the quote!)

Way back in March I ordered some seed and sowed it in punnets. It all sprouted beautifully and it was very exciting. Then there was a toddler-related incident and I was left with four intact seedlings out of about 30, but never mind, these things happen. I potted the four babies on and slowly they grew, and later I planted two of them into pots, and the other two into a sheltered spot in the garden by the warmth of a north-south fence. One garden-planted tomato died immediately, the other struggled on. The two potted tomatoes have done marginally better, reaching a whopping four or five inches tall by now. They are nearly five months old, these plants, and will certainly not be flowering, let alone fruiting anytime soon.

The dream of winter tomatoes is gone, and even of spring tomatoes very much diminished, but I live in hope that we may get one or two tomatoes off a plant eventually (and in the meantime, I'll stick to summer cropping varieties!)

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

(Yes, I know I said I was going to talk about seed sowing this post, but I can't find the card-reader so my pictures are all stuck on my camera until I can locate the blasted thing.)

Three weeks left of winter, folks!


Kirsty @ Bowerbird Blue said...

I'm dubious about winter tomatoes, you have had an achievement to grow the plant if not the fruit. You should get a Spring harvest if all goes well and that would be pretty exciting.

Liz - Suburban Tomato said...

Have you seen 500m2 in Sydney's winter tomatoes - she tried Stupice and they worked well for her - admittedly I think Sydney is milder in winter but it might be worth a go. I'm also wondering if it isn't so much the temps that are the issue but the hours of daylight, for some reason I imagine siberia having long daylight hours during their tomato growing season.

Jamie said...

The tomatoes which seem to do best through winter are the Giant Tree Tomatoes. I work for Burke's Backyard magazine and we've given away 'winter tomato' seeds twice in recent years. Then we asked for feedback from readers and we got a pretty good bunch of results, although there were failures as well as successes reported.

The Stupices Liz mentioned did do well, but the Giant Tree Tomatoes were the standout, with lots and lots of happy growers of them. They are a really big, robust plant with very big tomatoes, too.

However, it is hard for any tomato to survive in a frosty area: those that did survive there were either grown in pots and moved into shelter on cold nights, or grown in a warm micro-climate.

And it's also true about climate zones: the best successes were in warmer spots like Sydney or further north, but we did have people writing in from Glen Innes, Bairnsdale and Mount Gambier reporting good results with their Giant Tree Tomatoes.

I use the 'winter tomato' seeds to get a quick, early crop in spring. If you raised seedlings now, the quick croppers like the Siberians should be ready to harvest in late November. That's their real advantage: they crop fast in the short, cold-climate summers of the Northern Hemisphere.

Why don't you try growing some more now?

hearts_in_asia said...

I'm not sure exactly what variety of tomato these were, it seems like that might be particularly important. In any case, I've got a dozen more seedlings coming along in my mini greenhouse. I'll keep some for the vegie patch and I'm going to pass a few along to others for them to try out too.

Unknown said...

I grew these last year and had no dramas

mark gutterson said...

I grew these last year and had no dramas