A few weeks ago we looked at the technique of grafting rootstock onto regular varieties.
This is done to give the fruiting plant more vigour, more disease resistance and more tomatoes.
This video explains it very well.
There are many benefits of growing a grafted plant including the use of last season’s soil. Normally you would use fresh multi-purpose compost for new plants, but because these grafts are so disease resistant and vigorous, old soil can be used to grow them in. Nutrients will still need to be added of course.
Here’s a link to a very good selection of grafted tomato plants.
Those who grow grafted tomato plants without the aid of a greenhouse should be able to get a good crop too. Those who grow in a greenhouse should get an even better crop!
However, plants are still subject to some tomato problems, but will be able to cope much better, especially if watered and fed correctly, and kept in a favourable position.
Grafting Your Own
The technique of grafting takes a bit of practice to be successful. It’s also a good idea to practise on a few seedlings that you have plenty of, rather than the more expensive rootstock seeds.
A Few Tips
- Remove as many leaves as possible from the top plant – leave at least one!
- Use grafting clips if you can get hold of them – the silicone ones are hard to find!
- They newly grafted seedlings need to be kept in a very humid atmosphere and at a warm temperature for about seven days – around 26c.
- A heated propagator with lid, or keeping in the airing cupboard might just do it, but even the professional growers lose a few from time to time!
One of our newsletter readers came up with the idea of grafting two plants onto one rootstock stem – seems like Suttons has already done it!
This technique is used a lot in greenhouse growing, where one plant is
able to grow two main stems (one was a side shoot) and produce double the amount of trusses and tomatoes – rather than one stem growing out of the greenhouse roof!
This can be done with any variety but best with a vigorous one – usually a hybrid F1 or a grafted tomato plant.
You can even buy them with two different varieties or colours on the same plant – a red and yellow would be nice!
I think that grafted plants will become more popular and the technique of home grafting too!