By Michelle Fabio
The first frost has come and gone and you’re guessing that your tomato plants aren’t going to do anything else this year.
It’s time to throw in the tomato towel.
You could try to let your plants live a little longer by pulling them up and hanging them right-side up in a garage or basement, clipping the ends to a clothesline for example.
You don’t need a lot of sunlight and a temperature between 60 and 72 degrees is recommended. You can continue to harvest tomatoes even after the vine is dead, so you might want to try this.
If you’re deciding to just pull up your plants, first take off any green tomatoes (see what to do with them in Part II of this series). Then you could choose to simply till the plants under where they are already planted, but that wouldn’t be the best choice. Why?
Because if, by chance, those tomato plants have diseases, bugs, or fungus attached to them, you’ll just be planting them in your garden for next year.
In any event, when it’s time to lay the plants to rest, the best idea is to add them to your compost pile. Composting kills pathogens but you still get all the good stuff from your plants passed on to next year’s crop–without any of the problems that may be hiding inside.