Swansons Grafted Tomatoes - Seattle's Favorite Garden Center since 1924 - Ph: (206) 782-2543
Swansons Nursery - 88 Years of serving our gardening community - 206.782.2543

9701 15th Ave NW
Seattle WA 98117
(206) 782-2543

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Grafted Tomatoes are Here!

Grafted tomato plantsCommercial cultivation of grafted vegetable plants began in Korea and Japan at the end of the 1920s. Today, produce growers worldwide are adopting the use of grafted tomato stock, particularly in Asia, Europe, New Zealand and Australia. And now their popularity is rapidly growing in North America.

The benefits of grafted tomatoes:

1. Increased tomato production, 4-5 times the fruit of standard tomato plants.
2. Extreme vigor for improved quality of fruit and a superior taste.
3. Increased disease resistance including early and late blight and blossom end rot.
4. Greater resistance to soil borne pathogens and nematodes.
5. Increased harvests over a longer period of time.
6. Tolerance to environmental stresses like extreme temperatures or poor soils.
The result is a tomato plant that is a true performer. Perhaps most important in our maritime climate, is their hearty rootstock, braving the weather better than their non-grafted counterparts.

Grafting is the practice of attaching the stem of one plant, onto the rootstock of a different plant in an effort to improve its overall performance and health. This is a common practice in the fruit industry, and can be applied to vegetables with similar results. By grafting, a tomato can be selected by the quality and taste of its fruit which then can be grafted onto a rootstock with a more vigorous habit and superior disease resistance.

Swansons tomato selection features grafted tomato varieties by SuperNaturals "Mighty ’Mato" and Ezra’s Organics both produced in Oregon. SuperNaturals plans to offer other grafted vegetables, such as eggplant, peppers and squash soon. Ezra’s Organics is currently the only certified organic producer of grafted tomatoes, with the widest selection of unique heirloom, open pollinated, and hybrid grafted tomatoes available today.

Grafted tomato planting diagramPlanting Tips:

Because grafted tomatoes are grown a bit differently, we have put together a few planting tips for you. Follow these instructions (especially the first one) for grafted tomato success.

Plant with the graft above the soil line:
This is the single most important planting tip! Make sure that the graft line (small scar across the stem at the base of the plant) is kept above the soil line. Soil should never be placed above this line or new roots will form from the grafted variety, bypassing the beneficial rootstock it’s attached to. Normally we recommend planting regular tomatoes quite deeply but, in order to ensure the benefits of the graft, you must not bury the graft line when planting (see photo at right).

Dr Earth Tomato Fertilizer
Prepare the planting hole with organic amendments:
Before planting your grafted tomato, be sure to fortify the soil by adding in your favorite organic amendments and fertilizers. We recommend using Dr Earth organic Tomato, Vegetable and Herb fertilizer with beneficial soil microbes as well as Gardner & Bloomes Harvest Supreme compost. By enriching your garden soil your tomato growth will be exponential! Grafted tomatoes are heavy feeders, so be sure to apply regular applications of organic fertilizers throughout the growing season.

Stake and support them right away:
Grafted tomato plants can grow up to 30% larger than regular tomatoes, so strong support is vital. Use a large stake, tomato cage or support system around your plant. The average cone-shaped cage will not be enough to hold these plants up by harvest time. If possible, use stakes that are at least 8 feet tall and 2 inches in diameter. Install your support system right after you transplant your starts. This is to prevent root damage. As soon as a tomato is planted, it begins shooting out new roots horizontally across the soil. If you wait a few weeks to drive stakes into the ground around your start, you run a high risk of damaging those new roots. So, stake those tomatoes early using strong, sturdy supports.

Pruning is recommended:
Prune any lower branches keeping them away from the ground. These lower branches can root, effectively losing the benefit of the graft.

Use Large Containers:
If you are planting these in containers, use one that a soil volume of at least 20 gallons. Grafted root systems are 4-5 times larger than the average tomato. This contributes to its superior performance by enhancing nutrient and water uptake and fueling accelerated plant growth and fruit production. Remember, larger the plant, larger the root system and grafted tomatoes have enormous root systems! If you grow them in a smaller pot you will not reap the benefits of growing a grafted tomato.

For more information on growing grafted tomatoes, please check out Ezra’s Organics website! Ezra Organics
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