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)
-70% alcohol solution (the working area must be sterile)
-Grafting clips or tubes (1.5mm to 2.0 mm)