I know...I ask this every year...and it gets generally pooh poohed LOL But I am so curious and it gets worse every year LOL Johnny's now has multiple different root stocks. We have enough time to have multiple people try it and compare results in different zones/conditions...Takers? Don't make me be the only nut out here LOL
Root stock seed is backordered till late Jan. but that should still be time for me...
OK, I don't have a problem being called nuts so here goes. Why do we need to graft tomatoes? I will be growing tomatoes in the native soil under my greenhouse for the second year. Do I need to graft my tomatoes onto disease resistant rootstock?
Theory is similar to why we graft fruit trees. The root stock is much more vigorous and disease resistant, so plants produce more and for possibly longer (obviously not past freeze but maybe for longer in hoop house). For the non scientist who just wants a few tomatoes, it is not probably worth it. But I'm an ex physician stuck at home with 8 kids and enjoy a challenge. Plus, I think I got some of my grandfathers horticultural genes because he won all sorts of awards and was amazing.
Here's the link to page with videos and explanations...I'm probably the only one interested but I'm ready to make it into an actual class for my kids in homeschool LOL
Very glad to see that I'm not the only one contemplating grafting tomatoes this year as this past summer was not kind to my tomato plants. I actually read about this as well in the book "Tomato" by Gail Harland & Sofia Larrinua-Craxton. They make it look pretty simple and make it easy to think that a person could have it all. Disease resistant root stock and one's dream scion. I haven't watched the video yet, but will soon!
I think it all depends on which specific diseases one is speaking of, and those would be soil borne diseases and since those are regionalized they aren't present everywhere. Additionally, the genes known to impart disease resistances, don't, what they can do is to impart disease tolerance, not resistance, which does mean just a bit longer growth.
Several years ago I researched grafting, not for me, where I live there are no soilborne diseases that are widespread, but I did find that Dr. David Francis at Ohio State had done lots of trials with many different kinds of rootstocks and he concluded that using the variety Celebrity F1 was just as good.
Over the years, since about 1983 I've participated in many different message sites and I can't say I've been impressed with the grafting feedback that I've seen. I do have to chuckle at those from Australia and New Zealand where grafted plants are commonly sold b'c they tend to say that the only reason they are so commonly sold is b'c they can charge much more money for grafted plants. LOL
If you go to Territorial Seeds you'll find that this is the second year that they're trying to sell grafted plants and I think I remember that for 2012 they have some with two tomato varieties grafted onto one rootstock, and all the ones they offer are pricey. But for those who don't even know which specific soilborne diseases they might have where they garden, they look attractive.
As an example, Fusarium is a very common soilborne disease, but only in certain areas of the US, primarily in the deep south, going down the East Coast from GA to FL, then along the Gulf Coast and then up into CA. There are three different races of Fusarium and NO cross protection, so a person needs to know which of those three races are present where they grow.
All that being said, I say why not try it as long as a person uses CONTROLS with the same ungrafted varieties so that at least maybe a difference can be seen.
I'm a biological systems engineer stuck at home with three kids and also have been researching grafted tomatoes. Really not so much for disease resistance (nice dry climate with cold winters keeps disease to a minimum) but for increased yield. Already have a trial planned between outdoor and hoop house tomatoes this year. Unsponsered- just me and scientific curiosity...hope to sell the test subjects at the farmers market =)
Need replication and controls for the grafting -maybe do 3 popular heirloom varieties, 1 of those a cherry type. Think a minimum of 5 plants each? Probably start them all early and keep them in the hoop house to give them a long season.
I'd be willing to run a trial and share results. Same zone as you but different climate. Which root stock were you wanting to try? Probably have to do just one each due to cost of those seeds. Maybe its just hype and carefully selected pictures on Johnny's site- but you don't know till you try =)
I am a lurker that loves watching British gardening programs. Can't remember if it was Gardeners' World, or Beechgrove Gardens where they had a trial to determine if grafted tomatoes were worth the expense. The grafted tomatoes (and the same ones grown from seed) were planted in a greenhouse. They weighed the yield to compare at the end of the season. At the end of the trial there was no noticeable difference between the two.
So, not really worth the expence unless you just want to try grafting for the fun of it.
I tried grafting fruit trees when we lived in Southern California. That was fun, as I did one in our yard that then grew lemons on one side of the tree and oranges on the other.
That's the only reason I can see for grafting tomato plants - as a novelty. You could easily graft, say, a branch from a yellow variety onto a red variety and have two completely different tomatoes growing on the same plant. Other than that, I can't see any reason for grafting tomatoes unless having roots resistant to soil-borne diseases is important in your area.
I did it, and came up with 6 different heirloom grafted plants on Beaufort rootstock:
Black from Tula
The first 3 are already out in the garden and growing like crazy. The rest are in the hardening off process now.
The grafting itself was easy, but be sure to wear your close-up glasses to see the angle of the tiny stems.
The hard part was regulating the environment during the healing period. I used clear plastic bins. I lost half of the first batch from too much heat/ dryness when getting them used to life outside the chamber. Several lost all their leaves and I almost threw them away, but then they perked up and are now nice little plants. I repeated the process and made the mistake of transplanting the rootstock plants into regular potting soil previous to the grafting. Then all of these grafted plants severely wilted and most succumbed to damping off. Again I almost consigned the rest of them to the trash can, but then some of them made it and are looking good.
The reason I wanted to graft was that my sandy soil has nematodes, and I wanted to try the heirlooms instead of hybrids. Last year I grew a couple of grafted plants from Territorial, which grew well, but they are offering very few.
Now, after all that, will the weather cooperate this year so blossoms will set, or will it be another summer from hell?????
Yes, that is the kind of cucumber I like to grow - skin so tender, sweet and crunchy. Believe it or not, there ARE mountains in Texas (the part just south of New Mexico). However, I notice that here any bump in the terrain is likely to be called a "mountain".
Didn't get to do my grafting after all :( But if today is any indication of the summer then I really wasted money growing seedlings this year. Today is mid 90's in St. Louis and weather report says mid to high 90's for whole weekend...I need to forget gardening and take up aquatic sports LOL Then again...I LOOK like I'm in a sprinkler when outside gardening LOL