“You can use the rootstock with whatever variety you like to make it more disease-resistant and more productive,” Mr. Mefferd said. “But grafting is definitely a pain, and it takes practice.”The good news is that you can buy ready-to-plant grafted tomatoes at your local garden center or through mail-order outlets like Territorial Seed Company and White Flower Farm.As Barbara Pierson, the nursery manager for White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Conn., said: “It’s not just hype; it really works. And I was a nonbeliever. I grew regular Brandywines on their own roots next to grafted ones and got three times as many. And I got them earlier, too.”Mr. Mefferd, who oversees the tomato trials at Johnny’s, added: “We’ve seen a 30 to 50 percent boost in yield without any decrease in flavor. The fruits look the same, you just get more of them.”The greater root mass of these grafted plants draws more water and nutrients from the soil, so they need less irrigation and fertilizing. And because they are resistant to many pests and diseases, grafted tomatoes have helped farmers worldwide to greatly reduce the use of methyl bromide, a gas used to fumigate soil pests that depletes the stratospheric ozone layer.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
If you're a gardener and you haven't read this, you really should. Anne Raver writes in the NYT about grafting tomatoes.