What a difference grafting (vegetables) makes!


Sorry @ramv to clarify the title a bit. Most discussions are on gafting fruit so I thought it best to distinguish by adding ‘vegetables’ to the title.

So, anyone grafting veggies this season? Here is my first try at tomatoes.

I started back in Jan to make my mistakes early on. 2 out of 3 took. Fixin’ to do more this weekend.
Anyone giving this a try?


I’m grafting tomatoes too. DRO141TX seeds to get relief from verticillium wilt and RST-04-106-T seeds to get relief from bacterium and Fusarium wilts. Going to try them both with some of my favorite heirloom varieties to see which performs best for me. I don’t have room to move my tomatoes every year so I think these will help my yields a whole lot. They better because these seeds cost a small fortune!

I am probably 2 weeks away from doing my first grafts. Really looking forward to the experiment!


Right on about the cost. Golly.
Anyway, I thought I’d try rooting the tops I lop off the root stock and see if I can reuse with future heirloom tops.
The wilts I’m trying to address are airborne so I’m hoping to increase vigor and get enough yield so as not to need as much garden space.


Yes, I have planned an experiment but won’t plant the seeds until end of March or beginning of April. We still have to worry about frost in the beginning of May.


I attended a presentation last weekend by a couple of Ph.D students from WSU. They said that 90% of all solanaceae plants (eggplants, peppers, tomatoes) were grafted in Asia. Their soil is apparently so badly infected with pathogens that own root plants are not viable.

The various wilts apparently live for 14+ years in the soil so even crop rotation isn’t a possibility. Grafting is really the future for vegetables.


Here, bio-geenhouse tomatoes are all graft-tomatos. It’s not difficult to do and Johny’s selected seeds website offer good information about it.


After grafting my first set, I noticed that the grafted plants appeared to go into suspended animation for about 2-3 weeks. The plants I didn’t graft are about 12+ inches now, but the grafted ones now are maybe 7-8" so we need to factor in a time warp. I’ll pay more attention this time. I’m going to try different clips.

Thanks for mentioning that. I guess they have tried solarization - but even so, the production of the grafted plants is amazing.


I am trying tomato grafting this year too. I have some Estamino rootstock, and some Super Natural.
I intend to try some heirlooms on their own roots, and the same varieties on rootstock.
I also have some Everglades Tomato seeds growing to try as rootstock. Since they are not a hybrid, I could save seed if they worked for the purpose.
I believe it is mosaic virus that takes out about half to three quarters of our plants every year. I am hoping for a better survival rate, and if course more tomatoes.

What graft type did you use on your plants @JustAnne4? I have some clips like those in your photo, and also have some 2.5 mm silicone top grafting clips coming. I thought to top graft what I can, and then side graft or maybe cleft graft if diameter doesn’t match.


Hey Jolene,
Please report on your findings with the 3 dif rootstocks. Great experiment.

I’m not a fan of having to use hybrids to accomplish blight survival. I plan to use some uber vigorous non-hybrid winter squash as a rootstock for cukes for similar reasons. Are you (or anyone else) grafting veggies besides tomatoes?

I did the top graft but apparently used the clips for side grafting - it was what I had. I also recently got the 2.5mm clips and will give them a go this weekend with more top grafting of tomatoes. The clips in the picture will likely do better for the cukes than the 2.5 mm.

The tomatoes that didn’t get grafted have grown quite tall as I mentioned above. I’m thinking I can find someplace at the top of the plant that will match my rootstock diameters. The 2 trial plants that took were my ‘main’ tomatoes, but the ‘early’ one didn’t. So I have a large ‘early’ tomato plant that I can snip the top off of and give it another try.


Thanks for the info Anne!
Yes, I am planning to graft sweet and hot peppers onto Habanero tree for rootstock, to see if I get a longer lived plant in the greenhouse. Of course I will grow some ungrafted plants to compare…probably the identical plant by just taking a small shoot, and grafting onto a well started root system. (I think that was a great idea you had)
The pepper rootstock I’m using was what @thepodpiper recommended for the purpose in an old gardenweb post I found when searching for info.
Cucumbers do fine here on their own roots, so I’m just trying the peppers and tomatos this year.
I will certainly post the results, as time allows. This looks to be a very busy year! :slight_smile:


Any chance grafting cukes will save them from getting bacterial wilt from cucumber beatles? Around here I’m lucky if I get a cuke or 2 per vine before they wilt out.

For tomatoes, based on this thread I’ve gotten the bug to graft some. I just ordered some Maxifort seeds to try with a few of the heirlooms I grow. I plan to start the seeds when I get them and then just take the tips out of a few of my seedling heirloom plants once the rootstocks are big enough. Since they’ll be a little behind when I normally plant, they’ll basically be a second wave of plants. Beside general disease resistance and vigor, I wonder if it will have any impact on the blossom end rot I struggle with on some of the heirloom paste types, like Opalka. It will be interesting to see how they do.


I’m doing watermelon onto pumpkin, I did this last year and it worked well for the ones in the greenhouse, the ones outside I did not irrigate enough.

Watermelon don’t like to be transplanted and do not take the cold soil as well as pumpkins do. Here is a photo of last years patch early in the season. The grafted watermelon is the closest plant with my cat. The non grafted are the two behind on the right. The plants on the left are a grafted cantaloupe on pumpkin in the foreground, and the two behind on the left are non grafted cantaloupe.

ETA - all the plants are the same age


Supposed to be hard to graft unlike Solanum. You must have good skills to get this going!


Many a watermelon and pumpkin seedling lost his life for the cause :cry:


Garden cat!


The tomato grafting went much better this time. I turned over a 5 gal bucket on the table and set the root stock (Maxifort) on it so that it was at eye level and had light behind it. This way I was able to see through the clear plastic clip and could much better see when the two had a good join. Magnifying glasses helped too. :blush:

So what advice can you give for cucurbits? Curious about the type and size of clips that worked best. I’m planning to graft cukes on to a winter squash. I get less and less cukes each year it seems before the vine succumbs as @zendog mentions. I don’t think rotation is the answer, so maybe vigor is part of the answer.


I don’t use clips. I use the method shown in this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MVQYRo1WhQ If you don’t like to click on links it is called -Watermelon Grafting Demo.avi - YouTube.

I made a few changes to his method.
– I do a longer cut into both, not deeper but longer down each stem. I usually do it till I reach the top of the razor blade. I don’t cut into either stem more than half way.
– I use teflon plumbers tape, I found that the tinfoil can cut into the tender stems as they grow out a bit ( this may be because I tend to leave them together for longer than suggested).
– I cut off the pumpkin top at around 5 days, and I leave both roots attached until day 10 or even 14, then I cut off the watermelon rootstock. I have cut them off earlier but I found I had better success if I left them on longer.

You can see the tinfoil cutting into the stems in the above picture.

In this one I used parafilm, but later I started using teflon tape and like it much better

Another picture of the grafted ones in the back and the controls, or non grafted, in the front. I found the size difference to be significant.


What type of pumpkin is your rootstock? Do you recommend any particular type or jus a good strong growing type?


I started with a giant variety, thinking that the most vigorous rootstock was best. But, the seedlings are so large compared to the watermelon they were hard to graft and the resulting plants eventually died. It could have been my skills, but they lived long enough so I thought maybe the rootstock could be the problem.
I then started using Howden, just a regular pumpkin variety I picked up in the store.


Do you think winter squash would increase the vigour of a cucumber?