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Keeping tomatoes alive through winter for spring clones?

 
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I have been tossing this idea around in my head for a while. if I kept a tomato plant or two protected through the winter inside (out for a visit with the sun when it was nice) would it live long enough for me to take clones of it for the next year?

starting seedlings is always such a pain for me. clones go soooo much faster and I don't have any trouble with. I'm wondering if the mater plants would just get leggy and ugly in a sunny window of if they would just croak.....

it would also be nice to be able to keep a few hybrids going.
 
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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great minds think alike..i have been considering removing suckers from my best and strongest plants and rooting them to hold over in the house for winter..esp since i did pay a premium for some of the plants that i bought mail order (and they are great plants)..i hate starting tomato plants from seed here..and hate spending money on plants..so the thought of starting cuttings and overwintering them is really on my mind a lot...i had thought of putting a greenhouse addition on the boiler building so i could overwinter tomatoes..and still have that thought sticking in my craw as well..as the boiler building never drops below 50 degrees in the coldest of the winter..so a small glass area might do OK..but right now $ are preventing..also too many projects going.
 
                    
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theoretically it ought to work. I am overwintering my geraniums on every window sill and they do great in the house.  I think I'll try that, plant a little sucker in a big pot before frost and see how it goes.
 
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I have tried to overwinter container grown tomato plants, but never did anything with suckers/clones.

The biggest problems I had was getting it sufficient light (it was in a big pot), keeping it warm enough (again the pot size was a problem because of space) and spider mites. They attacked the newest growth, of course. Keep in mind, I tend to do things like this half-heartedly, thinking if it works...great. If not, no big deal. Maybe I will make a better effort this year & take some "clones" off of the Jet Star & Cherokee Purple plants. They are really doing well, and weren't the "Bonnie" brand. 

I also planted Celebrity (which were Bonnie plants, probable carriers of "the blight") they seem to be doing fine, but are determinate varieties. I prefer interdeterminate because of our long growing season. I currently have more than 50 ripening tomatoes on the vine, with 60 more days of growing season to go (hopefully, no early frosts. I hate early frosts!) So we'll see what happens!
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i'm kinda wondering if the determninates will not work that way as they don't continue to grow like the indeterminates do..they have a size and bloom time kinda built into their genes
 
Gwen Lynn
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That is a very good point, Brenda!

I don't usually bother with the determinate varieties. We just eat tomatoes fresh, so interdeterminates suit us better. When I bought "Celebrity" it was mis-marked, labeled as interdeterminate. Only after looking it up on the web did I find that out. Apparently, "Bonnie" plants had a few mishaps this season. I sent them an email, but of course heard nothing back.
 
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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I think I can overwinter outdoors here in northern CA.  I understand I should prune them back a little...should I cut straight to the ground, or leave a few side shoots intact?
 
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