Tomato Grafting

Tomato grafting in not a new technique, though most Americans have never heard of it.  Japan and other European countries have been grafting tomatoes, and other veggies, for half a century.   At a tomato workshop I attended yesterday, at the Santa Rosa County extension, Dr. Johanna Welch, taught this technique.   I will attempt to demonstrate the technique below.  At the end of the lecture, when someone asked Dr. Welch, why we Americans were just now, 50 years later beginning to graft, her answer dismayed but did not surprise me.  She said, our farmers have been reliant on cheap chemicals, such as ethylene, to fight tomato diseases while other countries have chosen other ways to deal with this problem.   When grafting tomatoes, a root stock resistant to the most prevalent and deadly diseases is chosen and then grafted to the better tasting ones (this top portion is called the scion).   This allows farmers or gardeners to no longer be reliant on toxic chemicals.

Here’s the list of supplies needed for tomato grafting:

-Root stock seedlings, about 4 wks old  (they must have their true leaves)

-Scion seedlings, about 4 wks old (they must have their true leaves)

-Razor blade

-Cutting board

-70% alcohol solution (the working area must be sterile)

-Grafting clips or tubes (1.5mm to 2.0 mm)

root stock on left, scion on right

cut root stock below cotyledons and scion above cotyledons (You want the root stock to be longer than the scion b/c graft must be above ground when planted)

lay root stock and scion next to each other and using a razor make a 45 degree cut through both of them

this is what it should look like after cut, next you would press the two together and place the clip or tube over graft

this is the picture of the grafted tomato I got from the workshop

the grafted tomato must stay humid and out of direct sunlight for a week and then be hardened off, mist it daily while in the bag

If you are interested in tomato grafting Johnn’y Selected Seed’s has both root stock seeds and the grafting clips.  The  University of Arizona is a very informative site.

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2 Responses to Tomato Grafting

  1. Wendy says:

    what a fun project! I can’t wait to see the tomatoes on this guy. Be sure to update!

  2. amy says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out what this technique is called for years after I saw my dad do this to our lemon tree with a branch(?) from a cuties tree. I’m interested to know how the tomato grafting turned out as well!

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