Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Over-wintering Plants

Our ADFF was October 12th this year meaning on that date there was a 50/50 chance of a damaging or hard frost. Unfortunately it came earlier than predicted spelling disaster to local tomato farmers. There were hundreds of thousands of dollars lost due to the early frost. Our property is water front so tends to be a bit protected from frost longer into the season still it is time to bring in plants for over-wintering. These include any herbs grown in pots, geraniums and any plant I want to try over-wintering. Over-wintering allows you to save some potted plants that you want to use the following year but at the same time if you do it correctly some plants will provide you with a bit of fresh produce while giving you any easy way to propagate some plants.

My method is relatively simple. I clean the plant of any dead growth, inspect well for any signs of infestation and wipe down the pot. Then I fertilize using an organic fertilizer and water well until the water runs from the bottom. Once the bottom of the pot is dry I bring the plant in where it is isolated from other house plants until I am sure there is problem with infestation. Potted plants can introduce spiders, earwigs and pill bugs to the home so I check carefully under the plants for a few days to be sure there no introduced bugs.

Tomato Clippings

If you have a sunny location in your home do consider taking clippings from your tomato plants before a frost hits them. This technique will work for hybrids that don't breed true through seed so it is a good way of keeping plants going from one season to the next. For best results cut from the terminal end of a healthy tomato plant and keep the clippings less than 1 - foot in length. Place the cut ends into water where they will root. In about a weeks time take each clipping that will now have generous growth of roots and pot them. As the plants grow make more clippings from them. Keep the vines clean by removing any dead or yellowing foliage. Pinch feeders (stems that form between a Y branch) to encourage bushier grown. The feeders can be rooted as well. Continue in this manner and you should have a rather lovely supply of tomato plants in time for planting in the spring. They will simply need to be hardened before planting. Choose the hardiest plants for this purpose. At the same time you will have enjoyed a few fresh tomatoes if you have hand pollinated. Cherry tomatoes when used this way can give you a nice supply of cherry tomatoes throughout the winter and since the vines are smaller they are easier to grow indoors.


Impatiens are a beautiful low growing flowering annual in our area with flowers ranging from white to red and shades of pink. Several years ago when I was learning about ponding I came across a reference that said us use impatiens clippings for shading. It was a simple, inexpensive solution to poke holes in thin styrofoam sheets to allow the impatiens clippings to reach the water. They would form a good root system within a week or so, ready for planting in the garden. That year I had more impatiens than I knew what to do with.

The same technique can be used for over-wintering impatiens as well as propagating for spring planting. Choose healthy plants then cut two or three 4 - inch clippings from the plant. Place the clippings in room temperature water and allow to form roots. Plant in soil. As the plants grow you can take further clippings to start more plants but do not take more than ⅓ of the total foliage when clipping. In the spring you will need to harden off the plants after the ADLF and when the soil warms a bit.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


  1. Thank you for posting this. I am going to give it a try with my tomato plants. I have rooted cuttings from other plants (I don't know why I have never tried tomatoes before).

  2. Wow! I never knew you could propagate tomato plants for over wintering. That's great, I'll give it a try. Ours this year were super -productive and put on huge beefstakes that were really sweet.. Mm. would't mind them again next year!

  3. I have never thought of using cuttings from my tomato plants. I'll have to try this next year. Thanks for the information!


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