Adventures in Tomato Grafting

Adventures in Tomato Grafting

Warning: super nerdy garden post ahead.

I attended a workshop put on by the local ag extension office at the end of April.  The topic: Tomato Grafting.  I had a vague idea of what plant grafting involved, my knowledge limited to: 'I think it's when you splice together two different fruit trees...?'  Turns out you can do this with tomatoes too!  and lots of other types of plants.  I learned that, here in Utah, heirloom tomatoes can be difficult to grow as there are a lot of diseases present that try to make their lives difficult, especially verticillium wilt.  It is, in summary, a fungus that lives in the soil and there is not much you can do about it.  Enter: tomato grafting.  The idea behind tomato grafting is putting the heirloom tomato plant on a disease resistant "root stock" so the plant will have a fighting chance against diseases such as verticillium wilt.  There are varieties of tomatoes that have been bred to be resistant to certain diseases and you can usually find this information on the seed packet.  So, to give a very abbreviated overview, you start tomato seeds for the disease resistant tomato plant that you want to serve as your "root stock"; simultaneously, you start tomato seeds for the tomatoes that you actually want to grow and eat, i.e. an heirloom brandywine variety in this case.  You let them grow for 3 to 4 weeks. And then, grab a razor blade and...

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