Tomatoes in December

It ain’t pretty but I’m not complaining.

Note to self: the tomatoes that sprout on their own are always the healthiest. The cherry tomato above has reseeded itself for at least 12 years. Sometimes its offspring survive the winter and grow as a perennial. Our climate sort of permits this but occasionally a cold night will kill tomatoes off. And each year the fruit declines in quality.

This summer I transplanted two tomato seedlings that sprouted in the yard on their own. One turned out to be the offspring of the Italian red pear tomato I grow every year and the other a somewhat boring but prolific yellow cherry tomato.

It’s Christmas and all of these tomatoes are still growing and producing. I’ve got an unintentional food forest started here. One of these days I’ll just give up starting seeds and let nature do her thing!

Leave a comment


  1. Erik – I’m NW of you, in Valencia. Like you, I’m still picking cherry tomatoes (Sweet 100’s). I have them planted in front of a slump stone wall which gives them a little extra radiant heat when the temperature drops. Coverng them at night with an old sheet also extends the growing season.

  2. I was thinking one year I would let one of my beds just grow what ever comes up in it. My compost never gets hot enough to kill off the seeds so I’m sure to get a smorgasbord of produce. I did let one volunteer grow this past year and was rewarded with pumpkins.

  3. Many years ago when I worked in Hollywood, behind our studio we had a “tomato tree.” I have no idea how long that tomato had been there growing up in a 6″ strip between concrete driveways and wrapped up in the chain link fence, but the truck was a fat as the strip was wide, and it was probably protected from any random frosts by a heat island effect.

    Still producing rather nasty tasting tomatoes, but the homeless ate them.

  4. I have a scant few tomatoes who are still alive, amazingly. The ones who volunteer yearly don’t make it through the frost (that’d be Wapsipinicon Peach), but I have a couple pastes who are still limping along.

    My peppers, on the other hand, are wintering quite well.

  5. Well it’s sorta like permaculture then, huh! I’ve thought of doing that with some potatoes and garlic and whatnot… planting a patch and then just let it continue to reseed itself.

Comments are closed.