Can tomato seeds tolerate Norwegian winter?


Yes at least here in the southeast of Norway tomato seeds self sow and plants pop up like weed from last summer. We categorize seeds of plants that survive our winter as OP (Open Pollinated) + TW (Through Winter). We have been growing tomatoes for years and have no problem growing any of them outside. To get an early start though, we start them indoors.

Chilli pepper seeds also self sow. We have not collected seeds from these plants though.

Here is a picture:

Bilde av chilli Hot Lemon

of a Hot Lemon chilli pepper plant taken october 23 2017 that we started from seed indoor in mid march 2017. The fruits would not ripe (get yellow) outside, so we took the plant inhouse october 5th 2017. Other plants were moved into a plastic tent on the same date. These planst survived a night with mild frost. Now they grow and thrive under growth light inside. Hot Lemen is an exclusive chilli pepper with a special taste that many people love. We did not have the same problems with traditional red chilli peppers, early and black Jalapeno. Seeds from these types were also sown indoors in mid march and planted outside at the same time. We had the first peppers in august.

Sweet pepper and chilli pepper seeds will be sown inside in November 2017 and grown under growth light until they are planted outside, may next year. The spring and summer of 2017 was very bad for tomatoes, sweet and chilli pepper, but even in an extremely cold spring(the coldest may in 50 years) and a cold and rainy summer, I was able to grow these more exoctic plants outside. As usual, we had no problem growing different varieties of tomatoes oustide and since we moved soil where the tomatoes were growin in 2016 around the garden, tomatoe plants popped up like weed many places. Most of them were thrown in the compost, but some were grown to get tomatoes and seeds from these cold resistenet tomatoes, among them mermande and different types of cherry tomatoes.

Sweet (bell) pepper called "paprika" in Norway, takes longer time to grow, and you have to start them indoors under grow light if you want an early harvest. I don't grow them in a greenhouse. In this summer of 2017, I got great fruits of "Paprika Pusztagold" grown on my windy terrace. The seeds were sown inside in the end of january. I could have started them indoor in mid November 2016 and harvested fruit earlier than august / september.

It is not always easy to identify Norwegian plants.

A lot of Sitka Spruce also called Alaska Spruce grows all over Western Norway. This imported tree is now blacklisted in Norway, mostly because everything that grows under the tree dies because of lack of daylight. So don't mix Norwegian and Sitka Spruce.

If you need plants or seeds from Norway, that is normally very healthy, we may help you if you contact us. We may also help you get heirloom seeds or plants or seeds from old Norwegian cultural plants. If you search on the internet, most probably you will not find the best supplieres.

Heirloom varieties are open-pollinated but not all open-pollinated varieties are heirloom varieties

The author of this article is Norwegain, so I don't know the exact definition of Heirloom seeds. From these

articles, we conclude that heirloom plants (seeds) are best translated to Norwegian as "kulturarv planter (frø)". If you search for heirloom Norwegian plants, you also find the term "kultur planter" or "permakultur planter" that is not the same as heirlomm plants and seeds as we have understood the term.

Then Norwegian word "kulturarv" is translated to English by heritage by using Google translate. That means that the plants (seeds) have been grown in generations.

Generally, heirloom plants are grown on a small scale using traditional techniques, and are raised from seeds that are at least 50 years old.
Since we specialize in growing tomatoes outside, this article, What is an heirloom tomato? is our favourite source:
  1. Commercial Heirlooms: Open-pollinated varieties introduced before 1940, or tomato varieties more than 50 years in circulation.
  2. Family Heirlooms: Seeds that have been passed down for several generations through a family.
  3. Created Heirlooms: Crossing two known parents (either two heirlooms or an heirloom and a hybrid) and dehybridizing the resulting seeds for how ever many years/generations it takes to eliminate the undesirable characteristics and stabilize the desired characteristics, perhaps as many as 8 years or more.
  4. Mystery Heirlooms: Varieties that are a product of natural cross-pollination of other heirloom varieties.
That may also be a good enough explanation for other plants and seeds.

The important thing to note is that the seeds have been passed on for many, at least 50 years. So is a plant that has been pollinated indoors by human intervention a heirlom plant? Strictly not, since heirloom plants are open pollinated by wind or insects.