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Fall Garden Tomatoes

Can I grow tomatoes in my fall vegetable garden?

Question: Can I grow tomatoes in my fall vegetable garden?

Answer: Fall vegetable gardens typically feature cool-season crops such as kale, lettuce, brussels sprouts and broccoli. But if you live in the warm Southeast or Southwest, you may be able to include tomatoes in your fall vegetable garden and expect a harvest.

Whereas you might start fall crops like kale and lettuce from seed, you'll need to start with tomato transplants, and it's hard to find such for sale in mid- or late summer. You'll need to root a cutting from a healthy, mature tomato plant already in your or a neighbor's garden. You need to allow a sucker (a new stem that occurs between the plant's main stem and a lateral branch) to grow 5 or 6 inches tall. Then cut off the sucker and remove its lowest set of leaves. Insert the bottom of its stem in a jar of water or a pot of damp potting mix, making sure the nodes where the leaves were formerly attached are under the surface of the water or soil. Roots will grow from those nodes. Once roots begin to form, transplant the cutting into the garden and treat it as you would any young tomato plant.