Grafted heirloom tomatoes

dirtygardener73(9a)September 29, 2011

I write for a living, and today I had to write two articles on grafting tomatoes. I was fascinated! It seems it is very easy to do yourself, but I looked at prices for the rootstock and YIKES! $8 + postage for 10 Maxifort seeds! No wonder the plants are so expensive.

I was wondering about grafted heirlooms. I live in North Central FL, and we have horrible nematodes, plus about every soil disease you could name. I love Cherokee Purple tomatoes, but they usually don't bear well and die rather quickly. I was thinking maybe I'd graft a few on Maxifort and see how they did.

Has anyone done any grafting of heirloom scions, and if you did, how did it turn out?

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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Container grow is an option

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 4:04AM
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you can find root stock seeds alot cheaper than that. johnnys seed has them for 22$ for 50 seeds. and im sure there are cheaper places. when you can create your own plant for less then a dollar why not.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 9:23AM
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The nematode problem will occur on grafted plants or regular seedlings planted where these critters lay in wait. The best bet is to acquire growbags or self watering containers, The soil medium must be isolated from the nematode infested soil.
And so a purchased soil mix will be necessary for success.
I use the (reusable growbags) in Iowa for seasons with too much rain as they drain out through the pores, but a bagged soil mix is used nonetheless. Gardener's supply has the best, though imitations are available on Ebay. -Randy

Here is a link that might be useful: growbags

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 2:06AM
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beth11(z7 southern MD)

I have successfuly grafted and grown heirlooms in the past. I have a confirmed case of Fusarium oxysporum in my garden soil. A Marianna's Peace planted in my soil quickly dies (been there done that). A grafted Marianna's Peace (onto Maxifort rootstock) does well in the garden provided you continue to protect it against leaf disease. This year I decided to grow my ungrafted MP in an earthbox in the garden. Mistake! MP grown in the earthbox on the patio by the house grew 10 feet tall. MP in the earthbox in the garden showed unmistakable signs of fusarium and keeled over within two weeks of first yellowing.

I have no idea how fusarium got into the earthbox soil! So, back to grafting next year. BTW, when planting a grafted plant, make sure the rootstock doesn't send out a shoot. It is a monstorous plant with spit-out awful fruits (been there done that, too!). Maxifort is a hybrid so I didn't save seeds.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 3:10PM
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I've also grafted different heirloom varieties onto Maxifort stock in the past. As Beth notes you are in for a constant battle with the rootstock to try to reestablish itself through suckers. Also yo need to use care to keep graft junction above the soil line or the graft scion will root and the graft is useless. I've had a few that I thought were legitimate grafts that ended up being Maxifort plants so you need to inspect grafts closely. The yearlong care is an ordeal that I prefer not to repeat.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 10:26PM
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