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Planning for grafted tomatoes

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Re: Planning for grafted tomatoes

Post  dvelten on 6/10/2013, 5:08 pm

Great idea, LM. Maybe I will make a collar out of spun bond landscape fabric and lay it on the soil under the straw mulch. I admit I'm getting a bit nervous after witnessing the roots on all three of my grafted tomatoes.

dvelten

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Re: Planning for grafted tomatoes

Post  llama momma on 6/10/2013, 5:21 pm

I enjoy finding spontaneous solutions when in a bind.
Glad you thought of something that sounds even better.
Wonder if the supplier has a solution too?
Best Wishes!

llama momma

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July 5 Update

Post  dvelten on 7/5/2013, 2:46 pm

We had a pretty cold and rainy spring which delayed planting out my tomatoes until May 28. We continued to have rain (16 inches in two weeks for example) and cool  weather, so everything is behind schedule. Nonetheless, the grafted tomatoes have turned in a totally unimpressive performance, as shown below. If I was asked today to assess them, I would judge them to be a total of waste of money compared to locally grown transplants. They still have time to prove me wrong. And let me apologize in advance for the photos. The backdrop is a row of onions with green tops maybe 24-30 inches tall, so contrast is lousy.

Below is the grafted Big Beef tomato, about 2 feet tall with a few tomatoes. Looks healthy but not the monster I was promised.



Below is the ungrafted Big Beef from a vigorous transplant purchased from Applefield Farms in Stow, Massachusetts. It is almost twice as tall as the grafted plant, dark green foliage with thick stems, and already loaded with fruit. Still not a monster, but a healthy tomato that will hopefully produce well if we can duck the late blight.



This is the grafted Juliet, again a healthy plant with one bunch of fruit set, but half the size of the ungrfated plant.



The ungrafted Juliet, from a 4 inch pot I bought from a local Bolton grower, Jem Mix, definitely is reaching the status of a monster plant. This is what you expect from Juliet, an exuberant, hard to control plant that suckers like crazy and produces long trusses of fruit. It is twice as tall as the demure grafted plant and threatening to take over the whole bed. The thought of putting this plant onto grafted rootstock that would magnify its exuberance was frightening to my neighbor, who introduced me to Juliet. But so far, the grafted plant is petite and demure, not the monster you would expect.



The third grafted plant is Cherokee Purple, my favorite heirloom tomato. I don't have an ungrafted tomato for comparison, but I can say that the grafted plant is again more petite than I would expect. But it looks very healthy and is setting fruit. If I can get a half dozen tomatoes from this plant I will be very happy.



Right now my impression is that these grafted tomatoes are underwhelming. The situation might be different for greenhouse operators worried about soil borne diseases (and doing their own grafting), but at $8 a transplant, these are simply not worth the money for a home grower. Note that I am growing these in a SFG, so results in soil with a bigger spacing may well be different.

dvelten

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Re: Planning for grafted tomatoes

Post  Marc Iverson on 7/7/2013, 1:38 am

How deep are your beds?  I wonder if a supertomato might need a superdeep bed to cope with all that supposed excess root growth.

Marc Iverson

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Re: Planning for grafted tomatoes

Post  dvelten on 7/7/2013, 7:13 am

My tomato bed is 8 inches. The plant can expand into the neighboring row since I planted supposedly shallow rooted onions that will be coming out soon. If necessary I can allocate them 2 squares, as discussed earlier, but not until they prove themselves. These plants do not look like supertomatoes, not at all.

dvelten

Certified SFG Instructor

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Re: Planning for grafted tomatoes

Post  llama momma on 7/7/2013, 9:00 am

Thank you Dvelton
I appreciate the time you took to pioneer your grafted tomato effort on this forum and sharing the results with us.  The grafting concept sounds great despite the results falling short of  expectations.  Makes me wonder what the seller would say or advise from your results. If it were me I'd tell them and show pictures.  Who knows what they might do for you. I find nicely worded reports work well and Good companies will take care of you.

llama momma

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Re: Planning for grafted tomatoes

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