I have three heirloom tomato plants in pots on the deck here in Michigan. I covered them with sheets one night when there was a frost warning. They all have a bunch flowers on them and are just beginning to make fruit. My 6-year-old son planted them from seed, so I really would like to protect them long enough to make fruit. Do you think it will work to start bringing them in at night when it starts freezing? Should I already be bringing them in at night? Do you think they will get enough sun to make fruit? I have brought in green tomatoes before, but I have never tried to make a flowering tomato keep making fruit past the frost. If anyone has any experience with this, I would appreciate some advice.
I would say that you should bring in your tomatoes day or night if temps are less than 50 degrees. One year I brought in tomatoes that had flowers as well as fruit. I flipped the flowers with my finger several times a day, and some of the flowers set fruit.
I put them in front of a south west patio door, which warmed up quite a lot on sunny days, and was probably around 70-75 degrees at night. As soon as a tomato had a little blush, I would pick it, wash it with warm water, let it dry, and wrap in newspaper or a paper towel to let it ripen on a kitchen shelf.
I also used a high intensity grow light to extend the daylight from dusk to around 8pm to simulate the length of summer days.
Good luck with your experiment. Hope it pays off - growth will be slower than outdoors.
I did last year. I have a sliding glass door facing the south and I brought in a hybrinized tomato plant in it's double 5 gallon planter. I had fresh tomatoes all winter.
The plant didn't do as well as during the summer. I was told by a person who owns a nursery that the winter sun was not out long enough to get the full value.
I have a 4ft grow light to supplement for the lack of sun this winter.