Most home vegetable gardens have at least one tomato plant, and that plant tends to be the gardener’s favorite. Particular tomatoes become favorites because of dependability, production, flavor, disease resistance, or the one that Mom grew. What if that favorite could be even better?! Read on, because grafted tomatoes in your favorite varieties are even better than the originals.
Let’s start with what you can look forward to: great flavor, great productivity, larger fruit, longer season, and enhanced disease resistance. The desired tomato variety tops (scions), often heirlooms, are grafted onto hybrid roots–this gives you the flavor of the heirloom with the disease-resistance and hardiness of the hybrid. “Side-by-side tests done by Ball Horticultural Co. in Chicago have shown at least 50 percent higher yields from grafted tomatoes than from non-grafted varieties. That total varies from garden to garden and gardener to gardener, but it means more fruit or larger fruit.” (Dean Fosdick, AP)
Care must be taken when planting a grafted tomato. With regular tomatoes, we encourage deep planting, as tomatoes will root from their stems. Grafted tomatoes must be planted with the graft ABOVE the soil level. Planting the graft under the soil defeats the purpose of the graft, as roots will develop from the stem of the scion, and you will no longer have the benefit of the hybrid root stock. Our grafted tomatoes come with an indicator tab that should stay above ground level–essentially, plant these tomatoes at exactly the level they are in the pot. If you look closely, you’ll be able to see the graft–it looks like a healed cut a bit above the soil line.
Each variety tag has information about grafted tomatoes and planting instructions, as well as a QR code that will send you to this video.
Mt Garfield Greenhouse has limited quantities of Big Beef, Brandywine, Early Girl, Mortgage Lifter, San Marzano, and Sunsugar. We plan to plant a grafted tomato next to the same variety,ungrafted, in our demo garden so you can see the difference! Grab your favorites and see the increased vigor and yield in your own garden!