After losing our tomatoes last year from the same blight that spread heavily across the eastern U.S., we decided we were ready to experiment with tomato grafting. Traditionally grafting is used with fruit trees. A honey crisp apple branch can be bandaged to a trunk of an empire apple tree and the wound will heal with the branch adhered to the tree. One tree, two different varieties of apples. The same can be done with tomato plants.
The variety on the left is Maxifort. The variety on the right is Brandywine. Both plants were seeded on the same day, in the same potting mix amongst equal growing conditions.
A variety of tomato is grown that has a strong, disease-resistant, fast growing root system. We used the Maxifort variety. Its fruit is not desirable. Another tomato variety that is known for its incomparable taste is grafted onto the vigorous growing plant.
It was definitely a time-intensive endeavor, but it was fun at the same time. And, hey, what’s a summer without tomatoes that aren’t drenched in fungicide, anyways?
First we cut the entire top off the strong rooted maxifort variety, leaving only a few inches of stem. Then the desired variety was cut just about the first set of leaves. A slit was cut into the root side stem, and a wedge was cut in the heirloom stem. One was placed inside the other, and tubing was tucked around the new partnership for the duration of the time the wound needs to heal. The first 5-6 days the plants remain in an intensive care unit with a controlled environment of high humidity, darkness and high temperatures. The photo inside the plastic container was taken three days after grafting.