Tomato Grafting?!?! THREE times the growth!
No, no, no, it’s scary, hard to do, uh, how do you do it? OK, you might give it a chance? Three times the growth is pretty darn attractive if you are a tomato lover! It’s being called the ‘Jack in the Bean Stalk Effect!’
You get Maxifort seeds (Johnny’s Selected Seed), or any proven excellent rootstock that is turbo powered and super disease resistant. These super rootstock varieties do not bear fruit, or at least, not tasty fruit. You grow your Maxiforts and your tomatoes of choice. When the main stem gets about a ¼” in diameter, you cut the Maxiforts down to about 2” from the soil level, cut off your other tomato, now called a scion, at a matching diameter point, and put them together, wrapping or putting a ‘Japanese grafting pin’ device on the join to hold them together. The stems need to be the same diameter so the cambium layers line up so your plant can grow. Voila!
In two days to two weeks your plant will be healed and ready to plant out. Then stand back! Watch the Jack in the Bean Stalk Effect and be happy!
This method was first developed because tomatoes are so sensitive to verticillium and fusarium wilts. The Maxifort rootstock withstands it and if you love HEIRLOOMS, that have little resistance to the wilts, this is your chance in wilt country. A lot of coastal marine layer gardens have it in the soil, plus it is airborne, so if your neighbor has it or brings in a plant with it….
11 Years ago, the method started in Japan. 4 years later, Canadian agronomist, Andre Carrier, popularized the technique here, and changed everything for North American greenhouse growers. Since rotating crops is often not practical in greenhouses or small urban veggie gardens, grafting is a breakthrough answer! Now many commercial growers are using grafted tomatoes because it is super successful! If you are scared to try it, have never done any grafting, try anyway! At worst you will be out the price of a couple or three seed packets. But, do go to some grafting demos. You will soon see how easy it is, and, the results will be way worth it! A powerful root stalk with the scion of your choice. Doable.
If you don’t order some seeds now, put it on your January 2013 seeds order list! Ask your favorite local Nursery to stock them!
June 28, 2012 Follow up! Cherokee Purple or whatever your favorite, heirlooms! Yes! I was hoping to start a tomato revolution! We may have to educate our nursery people. If we all ask for those Maxifort seeds, or the Japanese equivalent, He-Man, then they just might stock them for the profit! Turns out the Maxifort seeds are $23 for 50 seeds! Yup. Even so, to get the rightful amount of tomatoes for our efforts would be wonderful, especially those favorites! To get 3X the regular amount?! There’s a little modification on that point. It depends on the variety. Some are more invigorated than others, but all tested had greater production! Pure tomato heaven – canning galore, drying for backpacking food! There are some nurseries offering the already grafted tomatoes. Yes, they too are expensive, and more so to ship. This last info is for lucky people who might live near such a nursery or might visit family in a nearby area. A fellow Master Gardener and I have gotten our seeds (from Johnny’s), little guys now growing, grafting to happen soon! Will keep you posted.