Have you noticed robust tomatoes fairly bursting out of their plastic nursery pots? Log House Plants in Cottage Grove, Oregon is sending their first crop of grafted tomatoes to market...while grafted produce is common in Europe and Asia, Log House is introducing the technique to U.S. gardeners this spring.
What's this mean, exactly, besides a lump on the lower part of the plant's stem? In a graft, the upper part (scion) of one kind of plant is attached to the rootstock of another kind of plant; many grapes and fruit trees are grafted because it's such an efficient method of making exact copies of any given variety. The goal is to improve vigor, yield, disease-resistance and cold hardiness...With tomatoes, Log House has chosen rootstock with established vigor and disease resistance and scions with proven fruit flavor and quality. Grafted tomatoes produce over a longer period of time; it's a useful technique for heirloom varieties that struggle with disease resistance. Now you can get the heirloom taste and look growing on stronger, healthier rootstock.
Some plants are double-grafted, like the red pear and yellow pear tomatoes growing on the same plant. The price for these techno wonders? Their price (in pots much larger than what you see left) is close to double that of tomatoes grown from seed....but especially in this rainy, cold year, the lure of tomatoes producing over an extra-long season may be well worth it. Let alone how you can save space by growing two kinds of tomatoes on a single rootstock.
Read more about grafted vegetables at Log House Plant's impressive online library...