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Grafted Tomatoes

March 12th, 2011 by Veggie Master · 12 Comments

You may have heard the buzz that is going around about the latest thing in tomatoes – grafted tomato plants.  Why is this a good thing?  Simple.  Grafting your favorite tomato onto the right rootstock can result in a stronger, healthier, better yielding plant.  One that may require the use of less pesticide.  Good for you, good for the environment.

Koralik tomato

Territorial Seed Company has a number of varieties of grafted tomatoes for sale .  Luckily I’m on the list to receive mine in May.  I’m going to be growing Big Beef as well as two doubles (two different tomatoes grafted onto one rootstock) – one with Koralik & Legend, the other with Sungold & Sweet Million.  Big Beef is listed as the all-American standard in beefsteak tomatoes.  It is extra meaty with real homegrown flavor.  The fruit size should be around 10-12 ounces.

Koralik is a big and bold cherry tomato originally from Russia.  Trusses of 6-8 bright red, flavorful, one-inch fruit are produced throughout the summer season.  What makes this variety unique?  All the tomatoes on one truss will ripen simultaneously instead of one at a time like other cherry tomatoes.  Perfect if you’re selling them at a farm stand or using them as decoration on your party platter.

Legend is a very early maturing slicing tomato with a nicely balanced sweet flavor.  Another plus – it is late blight tolerant.  Both Koralik and Legend are determinate tomatoes which means they will top out around four feet and grow in a more bush-like manner than will indeterminates.  For this reason I’m going to experiment with growing my Koralik/Legend duo in a container.

The grafted Big Beef will be planted in my veggie garden as will the Sungold/Sweet Million duo plant.  I’ll be back later in the season to report on the progress of all my grafted tomatoes.  Meanwhile, has anyone out there grafted their own plants or grown ones they purchased?  Let us know what you think of grafted tomatoes if you have.

12 Comments so far ↓

  • Veggie Master

    Territorial Seed Co. has several varieties of grafted tomato plants available. Go to http://www.territorialseed.com/category/498 Good luck with your growing!

  • dom siano

    Any grafted tomato plants available for sale now, late January 2012?

  • Veggie Master

    What about trying a gardening forum like gardenweb.com? Maybe someone would be willing to swap seeds with you.

  • Geoffrey

    Seed for the reliable root stocks I found (Maxifort, Beaufort and Esperado) is quite expensive, and Johnny’s seems to be the only source. Anyone have alternative sources?

  • Veggie Master

    My grafted tomato plants are also very vigorous. Can’t wait to see what the fruits will taste like! Keep us posted on yours, Ron.

  • Ron Walquist

    I planted two of the Territorial grafted tomatoes. Both are doing great and look very healthy. At one time I understood they were indeterminate but you mention they are determinate. I graft fruit trees and it is my intent to graft tomatoes next season as well. What I like about the Koralik/Legend graft is the maturity dates are short which is good since I live at a higher elevation in the Idaho mountains.

    Ron

  • Veggie Master

    Take a look at the previous comment and my reply. It should answer your question.

  • Farmer Dave

    Grafting tomatoes ia a great idea I have not tried it yet but I do have some favorites that I would like to graft as I enjoy grafting fruit trees. How can you tell if the characteristics are from the root or the fruit?

    Thanks for the idea
    Organic Gardner

  • Veggie Master

    The rootstock is chosen on the basis of the characteristics wanted in the final plant. For example, you may live in a drought-prone area and want a plant that will thrive with a minimum of watering. Or you may need one that is resistant to certain diseases, salt in the soil, etc. You pick the rootstock with the idea of imparting the necessary characteristics to the topstock which may yield delicious fruit the color and shape that you want but not have the desired hardiness. Physically grafting the two plants together is much simpler than trying to breed all the desired characteristics into one plant.

  • lostsoulhelpmejebus

    Cool idea! I am curious, however, is there a preferred rootstock for these or just up to grafter?

  • Veggie Master

    Yes, Mike, it’s the understock or rootstock which is imparting benefits that the topstock is lacking. I suggest googling “grafted tomatoes” to learn all about the practice.

  • Mike Y

    You said the tomatoes are grafted to increase yield and have healthier, stronger plants. Is this improvement caused by the understock influence or are these just superior clones? If it’s the understock, what stock is being used?

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