Grafting has been with us for millenniums – fruit trees and roses are the things we usually think of in connection with grafting – but several years ago, vegetable and seed companies began to graft vegetable plants. I’ve been curious about them, so was really tickled to get three plants from GardenLife to trial.
“This year we sold a million grafts – and we have had mixed results around the country,” says Bagnasco, “but 80% of the people who contact us are ecstatic. The Mid-West especially has had problems, and another problem is that people are still burying the graft [when they plant], and when you do that, it ruins the tomato.”
|Grafted Costoluto Genovese on left, Heatwave II on right|
|Grafted tom’s right background, Supersauce on left|
This grafted Homestead bracketed with Supersauce and San Marzano had a tough time earlier, but has squared itself away pretty much and is giving us a nice amount of slicing tomatoes. So is it the plants? The soil? Air flow? (which should be the same for all three plants). The variety? I don’t know, though I do think the soil is partly to blame.The tomato plants on the left in the photo at left were started at the same time as all the others, but were planted a full month later, which may explain their current health (though I can see trouble starting down at the bottom).
Bagnasco says they graft a wide range of fruit and vegetable plants, and says that grafted watermelon is a particularly impressive producer as compared the non-grafted. I hoping to get a chance to try to grow one next year. In the course of the conversation, he mentioned some new varieties of tomatoes being developed from a species that was brought back from Galapagos that sound fascinating (delicious — it’s all about the eating for me). Apparently 60 Minutes thinks they sound fascinating too; they’re going to feature them with other new phytonutrient plants in a segment this fall. Never dull.