What is a grafted tomato? Don’t worry, there is no genetic messing around that could upset you or mother nature. Grafting is NOT a new technique, its been around for decades especially for fruit trees. Now the home gardener can take advantage of this technology and reap the great benefits of grafting with an abundant tomato harvest. One master gardener who grew a test plot with grafted and non- grafted tomatoes said his harvest was almost 10 times larger on the grafted tomato. I will share the link at the bottom of this post.
Grafting is taking two plants and combining them into one. One plant, the root stock, has characteristics of disease resistance, tolerance for temperature variations, increased growth, but the fruit is not considered desirable due to lack of flavor. The other plant (usually a heirloom variety tomato) does not have the best disease resistance or vigor but produces tasty and very desirable fruit. The root stock tomato and the heirloom tomato (called the scion) are basically glued together to produce a new plant on one stalk.
How is this done? First, cut the top off the root stock tomato and throw it away. Then, you cut off the lower stem of the heirloom tomato and throw that away. Finally, take the two remaining pieces and make one new plant. The vascular systems in each stem are carefully placed together and then temporarily glued or clipped until the two parts fuse to make one healthy stalk.
I have bought root stock seeds, I chose Maxifort, and then I will get some of my favorite heirloom tomato seedlings and try my hand at grafting. Root stock seeds are expensive- relatively speaking. I bought 50 seeds for almost $23.00! That is a lot of money for a few seeds, but these are like gold when you see the difference in production. To buy a grafted tomato plant where someone else has done the work for you, they start at $12 to $20 dollars apiece. I don’t know who is going to be selling these in our area, but I will let you know after I do some research myself!
Here is the link I promised you so you can see the evidence for yourself.