Jack and the Tomato Stalk

So we have all read Jack and the Beanstalk but I have my own stalk growing to the ceiling in our basement!

Although most areas of the United States treat a tomato plant as an annual it is actually a perennial in its native environment which is Central and South America. If those are terms are confusing, an annual is a plant that has a life cycle from germination of the seed to production of new seed within one year and then dies. A perennial‘s life cycle is two years or more.

Last year while cleaning out our garden of its 80+ tomato plants, there was one tomato plant that was thriving in its pot on the deck. We had a very late frost so it had been outside for several months – it was started from seed in February and it was October and no frost yet.  I wondered if I brought it inside, placed it near my grow lites and kept it from frost if it would survive the winter. Would I get tomatoes? Would it simply survive and I could move it back outside in the spring and get tomatoes from it in the summer? Would it simply whither and die in a few weeks?

After being inside for a couple of months I saw flowers. Then I wondered if pollination would occur. Tomatoes don’t need bees to pollinate but they are not true self pollinators. They typically need wind or assistance from a pollinator or an animal. Animals can create enough vibration and movement for pollination. Inside I did not not have any of these available near the tomato but thought I would try it anyway.

The plant is growing and growing as you can see. Honestly I have forgotten which tomato variety I have in this pot and the tag is no longer legible. It is obvious that it is indeterminate – it is viney and tall. If it was outside it would be growing in all directions and sprawling in all directions. In our basement, it is now between the joists. I told hubby we would have to cut a hole in the basement ceiling to allow it to continue to grow.

I have recently, to my pleasure, discovered a tomato! I hope it will ripen under these lites and I will be able to figure out which variety I have here. Can you see it in the picture below?

If the plant continues to grow and thrive I will pop it back on the deck in the spring and see if it continues through the season.

The experiment has been really fun. I may bring more tomatoes in next year if this is successful. Do you think I will be eating a fresh tomato soon?

I will let you know!

Happy Unleashing your experiments!