Southwest Gardening forum: Grafted Tomatoes

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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Apr 9, 2011 3:41 PM CST
I noticed that Territorial Seed is offering tomatoes plants grafted onto special rootstock. They claim that the plants grow and yield better. I'm familiar with the benefits of the right rootstock in the case of roses and was wondering whether anyone else had heard of or had any experience with it for tomatoes?
Name: Kelly
Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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locakelly
Apr 11, 2011 7:35 AM CST
Steve, if you're still on DG I remember a thread from last year or so about grafted tomatoes. They seem to be popular in Australia but not so much here. Here's the link to the thread. I remember reading more but this is the first one that popped up for me. If you can't access it I'll copy and paste the pertinent parts for you...

http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/961287/
God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author Unknown
Moderator for Southwest Living Vegetable Forum


Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Apr 11, 2011 11:08 AM CST
Kelly - Thanks for the info - right now I am not a subscribing member.
Name: Kelly
Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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locakelly
Apr 11, 2011 11:36 AM CST
Steve - here's an interesting article I found, though the consensus I get from the DG thread is they really aren't worth it to take the time to do them yourself for what is technically an annual. I have not had any personal experience with the grafted ones that are being sold but would be curious as well to see if anyone else has or if you try them let me know.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/pacificnw/2014374699_p...

Let's see if I can copy/paste the info here for you... It will probably be long so bear with me - lol. I want to make sure the posters get proper credit for their info. It would likely be easier to send it via e-mail in a word file, but then everyone else won't get to see the info. There are a few photos on the thread but I won't touch those (ie: copyright) since the member who started the thread (Stake/Brian) passed away near the end of last year...

Stake
Barmera Australia

March 10, 2009
11:55 AM

Post #6246255

G'Day
Back at the start of Summer I bought some disease resistant tomato seed to be used as a rootstock and some seed of a variety to be the scion. I planted the rootstock seed and after 4 weeks I had 3 germinate out of 20 (usually tomatoes germinate in about 10 days). Since I only had 3 plants I decided to use them as a seed source not as a rootstock. The first of the fruit is just ripening and it is very nice looking fruit. Is there a reason not to eat this fruit? Other than not getting any seeds. Also the variety that was supplied to be the scion (that I did not plant) is listed as having the same disease resistant qualities as the rootstock. If this is correct what is the purpose of grafting?
It is looking very much like a scam to me but I am asking here to get other opinions.
Regards Brian

Farmerdill
Augusta, GA
(Zone 8a)

March 10, 2009
12:20 PM

Post #6246319

No reason not to eat the fruit, It may or may not be the most tasty. If you pick the seeds out you could still save some. Grafting is not popular in this hemisphere, but is done in India and southeast asia . I do not know that there are significant advantages ro offset the labor of grafting. Never been tempted to try it, not even the tomato grafted onto an Irish potato which shows up here as a novelty every 20 years or so.

Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

March 10, 2009
01:35 PM

Post #6246527

Were you planning to use Maxifort or Beaufort for the rootstock?

I know that lots of tomato plants offered in Australia are grafted, and most of my AUssie friends think it's a rip off money-wise, but it isn't so common here and about a month ago I went through a lot of research about it and talked to a scientist here in the US who is quite familiar with both rootstcks and has used both and seems to be of the opinion that using something like Celebrity F1 instead of expensive root stock seed is OK for outside grown plants but thinks that greenhouse grown plants to maturity might be better grafted with Maxifort.

It really does depend on what the disease pressures are both inside and outside and most importantly, WHAT diseases are present in any given area.

Carolyn


VGMKY
Louisville, KY

March 10, 2009
01:40 PM

Post #6246542

Maxifort F1 Disease resistant rootstock.
Grow tomato rootstock to add disease resistance and much improved plant vigor for an extended harvest. Also resistant to crown rot and corky root. Disease resistance is transferred to the scion plant.
Maxifort should be used for rootstock only. If left to grow on its own, the fruit produced is small, stays green, and is not good for consumption.

Brian, Maxifort F1 would be considered a Hybrid, so seed saved from it may not come true; although, some folks have grown the F2 and they seemed to be somewhat similar to the F1s. These plants produce a cherry size fruit, somewhat white/yellow in color,. foliage produces an unpleasant odor and the tomato is a spitter! The plant has been known to grow to the rooftop!
This method of growing tomatoes is generally used in places where there are soil diseases
Keep us posted on your efforts with this project and how it does for you.
Gary


Stake
Barmera
Australia

March 11, 2009
12:23 AM

Post #6249258

G'Day
Thanks for the replies Everyone. My purchased rootstocks are called just that and the scion variety provided is "Carmello Hybrid", this is claimed to have the same resistances to the rootstock. Resistant to Nematodes, Fusarium & Verticillium wilts, Grey mould (Which I think is Botrytis) and Tobacco Mosaic virus. That brings us to my earlier question (If this is true) why graft? The listed diseases are major problems here and most old varieties have no hope of success. Particularly against the wilts, nematodes can be some what controlled and Tobacco Mosaic is not the problem it once was since I gave up smoking. My rootstock is not Maxifort F1 see the photo below. Also I notice that growing tomatoes from cuttings is fairly common so why not produce the hybrid rootstocks from cuttings? This removes the risk of seedlings not being true to type and our climate would allow us to over winter with minimal protection by putting the cuttings in a fair sized pot and covering with a plastic bag near a wall of the house. We only have freezing temps during the night and at most a couple of hours after sunrise.
Tomatoes in this area are grown outside unless fruit is wanted in the winter months, then glasshouses are used commercially but seldom in the home garden.
Regards

Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

March 11, 2009
01:20 AM

Post #6249586

I thought I'd cut and paste some comments about grafting that I sent to the person who was asking about it:

(I had the good fortune to talk with Dr.( name deleted, CJM) last Friday. He's a tomato breeder and researcher at ( name deleted, CJM) University. No, I didn't call him about grafting, I called him b'c I've been pulled into this SolCAP international tomato breeders organization and I'd been asked to review their accessions and also to submit a list of what I thought were the best tasting tomato varieties.

It turns out that he has lots of grafting experience and did trials in several parts of the country recently and is not at all convinced it's the way to go. I won't go into the details unless you want me to, but he said that Beaufort, not Maxifort is best for field grown tomatoes and that they'd also used Celebrity as root stock and it was just as good. But there is NO resistance to any systemic disease, as he agreed with me, just tolerance, and even that is highly variable.

So in sum, what I got from him is it isn't worth it, but if you still want to pursue it I could tell you a bit more of what he told me.)

Carolyn

Stake
Barmera
Australia


March 11, 2009
02:39 AM

Post #6249983

Thank you and I am interested in all the data you can supply. I assume that when a supplier claims resistance then that is a false claim, I wonder what their response would be to that. What little info I have would indicate that you are correct when you say that grafting is not the way to go, rather the use of tolerant varieties providing those varieties taste like tomatoes and not cardboard. After all I can buy the cardboard ones at reasonable prices from the shops.
This last season I bought 4 tomato plants from a Garden Centre because my own seedlings were a bit slow in getting going of the 4 three died from what appeared to be a virus (probably tobacco mosaic). One plant showed the symptoms quite early and was pulled out and destroyed the other 2 were carying quite good crops and they collapsed before that fruit could ripen. I planted my seedlings out when ready and they suffered the same fate I now have 2 self sown plants looking quite good so hope I will get some fruit from them, I still have at least 2 months growing season left so should get some as long as they don't die as well.
Thank you for your help.
Brian
Stake
Barmera
Australia


March 13, 2009
05:32 AM

Post #6260001

G'Day All,
I picked the ripe rootstock tomatoes shown above and was surprised that they were almost solid with very few seeds. I scraped the seeds away from the flesh for drying and ate the rest with my lunch. Another surprise they were the best tomatoes that I have tasted for many years, quite strong flavour, nice and sweet. Strangely (to me) the seeds are pink, the seeds that I sowed were too but I thought it was a protective chemical not a natural colour. Does that give anyone a clue to the variety or are there lots of pink seeded tomatoes around. Unless these plants are very poor croppers I can see no real reason to graft because that flavour was superb.
Just writing this has me licking my lips.
Sorry folks! I knew I needed new glasses, that pink colouring is only flesh stuck to the seed. Usually when I clean my seed from other tomatoes there is no flesh left, this must be so solid that washing does not remove it all.
Regards Brian

This message was edited Mar 13, 2009 2:10 AM

Stake
Barmera
Australia


April 6, 2009
11:21 AM

Post #6371059

The rootstock tomato is slow at ripening its fruit but I picked some today and they are a really solid tomato, more solid than the "Roma" I think so should make good Relish and Sauce. The plants are really growing now and have a fair number of green fruit on them but it should ripen before the frosts start which in a normal year is late May but they have been known in April.
Photo is the fruit picked today.

VGMKY
Louisville, KY

April 6, 2009
12:54 PM

Post #6371356

"My purchased rootstocks are called just that and the scion variety provided is Carmello Hybrid."

Brian, Looks like you have a very nice tomato there! Hope they continue to produce with the good taste you liked!
Gary

feldon30
Houston, TX
(Zone 9a)

April 6, 2009
06:46 PM

Post #6373165

I am a little curious when you say your tomato seeds are taking 10 days to germinate. What temperature are you starting them? What type of soil? How deep are the seeds being planted? Are you pre-soaking the seeds?


Stake
Barmera
Australia


April 7, 2009
12:33 AM

Post #6374798

G'Day
Since joining DG I have been amazed at how different the growing condition are between the US and Australia we were always told how harsh our conditions are but generally you have a lot more temperature variability between the hottest and coldest temps. Our coldest night temps can be minus 5-6c in winter, very rarely -15c, with day temps about 13c to 18c. Summer can have maximums in the high 40s but usually between 30c and 40c minimums are usually in the teens occasioally in the low 20s c.. I think you have conditions a lot tougher than us other than perhaps with water availability.
My garden soil is classed as sandy loam and Tomato seed is planted with barely enough soil to cover the seed and keep it damp probably 1/8" but could be 1/4" in places. The winter pot plantings are in standard potting mix and planted as shallow as possible because the glass cover prevents drying out. We have never found it neccessary to pre-soak seeds but it might have achieved better results with the rootstock seed, I just never thought of it.
10 days is about normal here for dry seed planted direct into the soil at the end of winter. It takes about the same time in winter for dry seeds planted in pots and covered with glass or clear plastic, bottom heat is not neccessary so is not used. My initial comments were that under normal conditions it would take about 10 days but the rootstock seed took 4 weeks then only 3 out of 20 germinated. I suppose the seed could be given a bit of hurry up by soaking and using bottom heat but we get the desired results without the extra input.
Regards Brian


Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

April 7, 2009
03:06 AM

Post #6375713

Sounds like maybe the root stock seed was very old, Brian.

Always interested in hearing about your area and the various growing conditions there. (I really need to keep a temperature conversion chart nearby though!)

Hope to hear more how your grafted tomatoes do as you progress. Will be watching for updates.

Shoe


Stake
Barmera
Australia


May 5, 2009
12:52 PM

Post #6506578

G'Day
I have been picking the occasional fruit from the rootstock plants, scraping the seeds out and eating the rest. The flavour is not that good now that we are approaching Winter, but edible, I have an ordinary tomato called "Big Red" that is a lot better tasting. I will try that grafted on the rootstocks next Spring as well as the variety supplied with the rootstocks. There are lots of fruit on the rootstock plants now, I just hope they ripen before we get some frosts. Photo is of the fruit on the Rootstock plant.

God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author Unknown
Moderator for Southwest Living Vegetable Forum


Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Apr 11, 2011 8:32 PM CST
Kelly, lots of good information!

I was reminded about how easy it is for rootstock to spread disease if it is contaminated ... a problem familiar to rose gardeners in the US. Hoping that there is rootstock that can be grown from seed to avoid this problem. Or that Territorial Seed is really good at avoiding the problem.

My own plants are arriving first week in May, hoping to avoid late frosts. I'll try planting one in a pot and compare it to a Roma tomato grown from seed and grown on in an identical pot. And maybe I'll try one grafted tomato in the native soil here, along with the dozen or so Romas growing from seed right now.

I am perhaps the world's worst tomato gardener. I kept a dozen plants alive through summer last year. Altogether they bore two tomatoes of which both were partially eaten by the local wildlife before they got ripe. So I got no tomatoes at all from a dozen plants.

Hoping for better results this year. Thanks for the pasting the entries above!

Name: Kelly
Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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locakelly
Apr 11, 2011 8:45 PM CST
You're very welcome! I am excited to see how your grafted plants do - please do keep me posted!
God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. ~Author Unknown
Moderator for Southwest Living Vegetable Forum


Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ (Zone 9a)
Southwest Gardening~ moderator/ATP.
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Aguane
Apr 11, 2011 10:04 PM CST
Steve,
Good luck with the grafting should you give it a try or if you're in the process.

I must say, I may give you a good run for "worst Tomato grower" ... Last year was pretty good for me but the prior two were bad. I planted only two odd tomatoes from the nursery this time. A black (Tulia, I think?) and another. I guess they may do better if I remembered their names.
“Don't give up too quickly"... unknown, I heard it somewhere.
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Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ (Zone 7b)
Region: Southwest Gardening Roses
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Steve812
Apr 12, 2011 11:08 AM CST
Susie,
I'm betting that remembering their names only makes much of a difference to them if you talk to them regularly. Rolling my eyes.

I'll try to keep everyone posted. Right now the roma seedlings are six inches high and clamoring to be repotted. Now, if only I could remember which roma it is ... San Romano Gigante, perhaps. Maybe I'll call them Sambig.

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