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I was wondering if I could take some cuttings from my Heirloom tomatoe plants (which didn't produce till this fall) and keep them alive under my grow lights? Also,
my yellow, purple, orange and red bell peppers were overwintered inside ,under the grow lights, this past winter. I did have some mealy bug and aphid problem but I was right on top of them!! What if I cut them back real hard and kept them that way?Would I have a normal size pepper plant once it went out next Spring?
Ladybeetle, yes on the pepper as they are true perennials. I'm not too sure I'd cut it way back all at one time but rather clip it here and there along the way thru-out the Winter, just to keep it in check.
As for the tomato, yes you can root some suckers but you may end up having to do it a couple times. That is, get a plant growing then take another sucker mid-way thru the Winter to start another. Trying to keep a tomato plant alive and healthy all Winter is possible but the plant will certainly lose vigor before setting out time the following Summer. If you still have any fruit it would actually be easier, and with better end results, to just save some seed.
That'll be up to the variety you planted, LadyB. If you planted open-pollinated peppers and had them somewhat isolated from other varieties your seed will be fine. If you planted hybrids then you won't want to save seed from them as they will either not come true to type or may be sterile. Do you remember what kind of peppers you planted?
As for the color of peppers, the majority of peppers will start out green then mature to their final color (red, purple, yellow, golden, etc). (By the way, the U.S. is about the only Country that tends to harvest peppers at their green stage; most European/Asian countries wait until the peppers mature and color up.)
The only peppers that come to mind right now that ignore the green stage and go directly to a colored stage would be Islander (hybrid) and Purple Bell (OP) and those tend to start out purple then mature to red.
If you can remember what variety of peppers you grew let us know. I'm sure we can help you out more with that info!
I appreciate the info 'Horse', I did keep the little markers that came with the plants, but we had a real cold spell and my 3ft tall plants really wimped out, I tore them out and composted them and decided to save the space and start over next Spring. Thank you again.
I overwintered a tomato that I had pulled up as a seedling to give a speech on in October. I set it in the south-facing kitchen window, and it really didn't grow much at all, by spring it moved into the sunroom as a very small plant and began growing in earnest once the days got longer. I eventually planted it out in the garden, but it didn't grow as large as the plants I started in the spring, and it was a light producer. I really just did it as an experiment, but there are more variables, such as it being a volunteer from hybrid seed, it was a yellow-pear look-a-like that ended up being a red pear, I under-watered it as it sat on the window-sill, and I allowed it to stay root-bound in it's small nursery flat cell. Pear tomatoes are indeterminate I believe, that may have helped.
I am online trying to find information about Bell Peppers that have been overwintered. I live in the Phoenix, AZ area and our Winter was so mild mine bore beautiful peppers all season and were still out in the garden. Four of the green variety were close to 4 ft. tall by Fall but hadn't had much fruit. They sure made up for it. Now I'm wondering how much I can safely cut them back. They are starting to send out new growth down low and I'd like to encourage more of the same. I sudder to think how tall they'd get if I don't cut them back. I couldn't contain them and they'd suffer broken branches (already had some of that when they got so many big peppers on one limb) . Ha ha ha ha ha!!!
The picture was taken Jan 6, 2010. Unfotunately, I had no idea they would get so big so didn't put tomato cages on them. That's the main reason to cut them back, so I can get some kind of support system in place before they take off again.
Blondeme - I would just cut back the peppers here and there to trim them up. Don't cut the new growth, just the old. With the warm weather we've had I'm sure they will start growing like gangbusters. It would be a good time to fertilize if you haven't recently done so.
I had branches breaking left and right last fall from the weight of the fruit. And I had them caged and tied up all over the place. Looked like a bunch of kids playing doctor in my pepper patch with all the slings going on - lol. I find old cotton shirts cut into strips work great for this. Soft enough it doesn't cut into the branches but strong enough to hold them up.
Be careful if you decide to cage or stake them that you don't disturb the roots too much.
Hope this helps...
P.S. Oh, and welcome to Dave's! If you decide to become a subscriber, we have an awesome Southwest Forum here (some forums are only open to subscribers). Most of us are from the Phoenix and Tucson area with a few members spread around the rest of the state.