Sunday, August 23, 2009

Grafting those old tomatoes,,,

I took a vegetable growing specialist training course through the Master Gardeners at the beginning of August, and one thing we learned is how to graft tomatoes! I couldn't believe this, but it is true.

The reasoning behind this is the heirloom movement. The old heirloom varieties have such wonderful flavor and excellent fruit(flavor-wise, size-wise, texture-wise) and they produce an abundant harvest PROVIDED disease doesn't get them. They have very little if any resistance to any disease or virus. So, commercial growers are now grafting the heirloom tops onto the roots of the more modern varieties. We grafted Brandywine tops onto Celebrity roots, which is resistant to almost all diseases of tomatoes. It is easy to do.
You have to have a little grafting clip like these, which I have ordered from Johnny's Selected Seeds. They come in a couple of sizes, and there are also clips for stems of squash and other thicker stemmed plants. You cut the top off the heirloom tomato, pinch the clip and slide it over the stem. Then cut the root stock, pinch the clip again and slide it over the stem, pushing the two stems together until they meet firmly.

Keep your plant watered, and IN THE SHADE. It takes about two weeks for the graft to grow.

Click here to check out the clips more thoroughly.


Tom - 7th Street Cottage said...

Thanks for this information Janie. I'd never considered grafting tomatoes. I wonder if I could graft a couple varieties onto one root stock to make a fruit salad sort of bush? LOL. Thanks for the comments on my blog. Haven't been around much lately due to the hateful lawnmower, but I'll be back at it soon.

Really need to think about this for next year.

Kathryn said...

How exciting. What great info.

My favorite great uncle was county agent in Cameron county until he retired in the late 50's. He would have so enjoyed this way of growing tomatoes.


christinmk said...

Hi Janie! Thanks for letting me know about this on the CG forum. Sorry it took me so long to reply. I never even knew one could graft tomatoes! You mentioned that grafting the Hierlooms made them more resistant to diseases. Does it also help with blossom end rot by any chance? I had terrible troubles with that this year. Thanks for the info!