Grafted Tomato Pruning Tips
I spoke with a master gardener yesterday who has been doing trials of grafted tomatoes since 2011. His name is Harry Olsen and he has a website called harrysgarden.org and it shows him being interviewed for local television and radio in Salem, Oregon about growing grafted tomatoes.
He was kind enough to speak with me for about 20 minutes about growing grafted tomatoes. He did tests of a number of different varieties growing ungrafted right next to the grafted. He said he got about 10 times the production with the cherry tomatoes and 3 to 4 times with the beefsteaks. He said that grafted tomatoes MUST be pruned because he said the grow so thick, with stems about 2 inches thick and with so many stems you cannot even reach in and it doesn't allow sun or air in. He called it a birds nest. He said when he finally pruned one he discovered 30 tomatoes hiding inside his Berkeley Tie Dye Pink! He also said when his non- grafted plants had long died, the grafted were still producing fruit well into fall when it was quite cold already.
He said from now on, he will always grow grafted tomatoes. He also grew grafted eggplant and had even better success with that if you can believe it.
He grows in raised beds and he has built custom 12" x 12" cages (yes small) and then he then prunes the grafted tomatoes to 4 stems and ties them up the 4 corners of his 8 foot cages. He said they grew out the top and got to be about 12 feet tall. He was very firm that they must be pruned or they are not manageable.
He still grows some non grafted and he does not prune those.
I just wanted to share what he told me since a lot of us are trying grafted tomatoes this year. Mine are finally going to be planted on Tuesday and I will keep everyone posted as to my progress. Check out some of his interviews, they are quite interesting.
Good luck to all!