I’m on day two of my tomato grafting. Actually, it’s not taking place in the greenhouse just yet.
So why graft tomatoes in the first place? For one thing, growers around the country are having trouble with soil borne fungal diseases, primarily from using the same soil for years and years. This has also been a problem for some home gardeners from what I’ve heard. The grafted root stock is of a wild variety of tomato and offers much better disease resistance, at least for now.
Another reason to graft or grow tomatoes that have been grafted (look up Mighty Mato) has to do with their vigor. Boy, can you grow a great crop of tomatoes with grafted plants! I learned this last year when I trialed the Mighty Matos. The production is easily double that of nongrafted varieties. For northern growers growing tomatoes that have been grafted on to a vigorous root stock also allows us to grow some varieties that would not normally ripen up here, such as Beef Steak and many of the heirloom varieties. In this case, I grafted the rootstock of a Supernatural tomato onto three different varieties of tomato: Super Sweet cherry tomato, Indigo Rose and an heirloom called Flame.
So back to my experiment, or should I say trial and error? After watching some YouTube videos I decided to use the method whereby you join the rootstock and scion together with grafting clips, then place them in a clear plastic container (the one I bought at Big Lots for less than ten bucks). I set it on a heat mat and I’m keeping the lid on for a few days, trapping the heat and humidity (near 100%) inside. The ambient temperature is only 70 degrees (the video from the Univ. of Arizona suggested 84 degrees), but I’ve got bottom heat, which I hope will make up for the cooler inside temps. Actually, the soil or medium temp is 71 degrees this morning and will warm up more as the sun streams through the window (after leaving the container in darkness for 24 hours, I now have it in a sunny spot in front of the patio door). I’ll leave the heat mat underneath it for a few days.
I’ll keep you posted of my progress, or lack thereof. I hope you’re able to get out in the garden or yard and start doing some gardening. It’s a great time of year, cool nights and all!