What a difference grafting (vegetables) makes!


#1

IMG_6586
The two tomatoes shown here are both Brandywines. They’ve both been growing since Mid May in my raised bed.
The one on the left is pretty much finished for the season and looks to be dying out. The one on the right produced a ton of fruit already. And still has tons of large fruits that will ripen this season.

The one on the right is grafted and the one on the left isn’t. Earlier this season I was curious about whether paying extra for grafted vegetables was a worthwhile expense. This picture shows the answer clearly.


Grafted vs non-grafted tomatoes
#2

That is impressive. It would be nice to know what it is grafted on.


#3

Wow, that does look worth the extra money. My Brandywines have all sputtered out by now.
I tried grafting my own tomatoes two years ago onto a root stock I bought from High Mowing seeds. Out of ten I tried, only one took, then I stepped on my one plant while moving a table for my wife. Killed it dead. Maybe I’ll try again next year with more grafting experience.


#4

I paid $9.95 vs $4.95 for a grafted start vs regular start. Definitely worth it.
We are eating Brandywine and Cherokee purple every day. In my northern climate it makes all the difference between eating 5-6 tomatoes per season vs eating 5-6 tomatoes/plant each week. The plants keep going until they are killed by frost.

The biggest problems has been that the tomato cage isn’t strong enough to hold the vigorous plant. It literally falls over every week. Next year it will be a rebar cage.

I have grafted fruit trees but never tried vegetables before. I saw that the rootstock seeds were really expensive.


#5

They were expensive for the seeds. I had 100% germination, but no luck with the grafts. It was my first time doing it and the concept seems the same as grafting fruit trees so maybe people on this site would have better luck.


#6

I really hadn’t thought about grafting tomatoes, but after a little research I’m getting excited at the prospect.

A few years ago I grew about 112 tomato plants from seed, and lost all but maybe 20 to what I think was/is tomato mosaic virus.

This year we bought about 30 heirloom plants, and lost over 1/2 maybe 2/3 to the same whatever it is that gets 'em.

The thought of having more vigorous plants with more disease resistance is SUPER appealing!

Thanks for the picture worth more then a thousand words, that has inspired yet another project for me!

:slight_smile:


#7

Johnny’s now offers a grafting kit for plants like tomatoes


#8

I’ve bought pregrafted starts for the last 2 years. I agree with Jolene that it will be a fun project to do myself. It doesnt seem that difficult and clips of different sizes are available already on Amazon.

Perhaps it will be a good idea to do them in several batches starting in February to fine tune the approach. Start with a small batch around Valentine’s, wait 15 days - try again, etc.


#9

Here’s the link that should work until they redo their webpage:
http://www.johnnyseeds.com/tools-supplies/grafting-supplies/

The very informative video they have is on Youtube here:


#10

Initially it looked like there was really no difference between regular and grafted tomatoes. The difference only shows up later in the season. When regular tomatoes run out, grafted ones are still powering ahead like it is early summer. Here are more close up photos of the two plants and some tomatoes on each of them.


#11

The tomato root stock I had was called Estamino from High Mowing seeds. They are around $10 for 10 seeds or 25 for $13.

I remember the biggest problem I had was that the different varieties of tomatoes would germinate and grow at different rates in comparison to the root stock so you need to calculate and plan when to start the root stock for each variety. I did not and was grafting larger top stems to smaller root stock. It was also in my basement with not ideal conditions.

I normally put an order in with High Mowing at some point once I go through my seeds in the early winter. I can order some and would be happy to share (mail) in exchange for scion wood. Or for nothing if anyone else wants to experiment.
Let me know.


#12

Side grafting seems to be the best option of home growers who dont want 100s of tomato plants.
It is a bit more tricky but seems to have a higher success rate.

Do you know the difference between Estamino and Maxifort as root stock? I understand Maxifort is extremely vigorous but is produced by Monsanto and an F1 hybrid. i.e. you cannot save seeds.
Most of the grafted tomatoes I am able to buy seem to come from a Maxifort rootstock.


#13

I tried the side graft I think, the one with the little clip, right?

I have no idea about the different root stock types. Estamino is an F1 also.


#14

Johnnies has Maxifort for about 50 cents/seed and you can get small quantities. The price may come down some more over winter if supplies go up.

But you can grow the root stock out and propagate by cuttings to keep over the winter, then propagate again from cuttings that are the size you want for rootstock when it is time to get seedlings going in the late winter.

If they are productive and disease resistant as shown, it may mean I can plant fewer tomatoes. I think I’ll try this w/cukes and maybe peppers too.


#15

That’s a great idea. I do so much propagation by cuttings I wonder why I didnt think of this.
In fact we overwintered a bunch of coleus this last winter from cuttings.

In my experience grafting appears to primarily benefit heirloom tomatoes which struggle to survive long in my climate.
Aggressive hybrid tomatoes will probably do fine on their own roots.


#16

On noes! Not Monsanto!

j/k I like telling people i’m organically growing a monsanto product.


#17

I will probably get Estamino instead of Maxifort. Maxifort is supposedly too vigorous and can lead to excessive vegetative growth.
And also Estamino isn’t from Monsanto.

Good news with these seeds is that one can buy in bulk and store them for years.
I germinated some tomato seeds this year from the year 2005! 100% germination.


#18

As I reviewed the 3 rootstock offerings that Johnny’s has, Maxifort is touted for disease resistance, which I would opt for over the qualities of the others. The description says that this disease resistance is not conferred to the scion, but the vigor may help the plant push through the blights. Looking forward to trying this.

I think I’ll look into grafting cukes too for the same reason. Seems that winter squash is used as a rootstock.

And then there are bell peppers, which some folks use the vigorous hot peppers as rootstock.
Anyone have experience with these?


#19

I just run with the new hybrids that taste as good as Brandywine, such as Burpee’s Brandyboy. No matter what tomato I grow, it will succumb to blight- usually by Sept, although tomatoes keep ripening until hard frost. My last healthy tomato plant turned sick today. .


#20

The only healthy and vigorous tomato plants I have this time of year is Sun Gold. I’ll try them next year as rootstock.