Tomato grafting is very popular among home gardeners. We sell grafting clips and root stock seeds everyday. In fact, we cannot keep them in stock.
We will start our plants for 2018, sometime in December. We have available a complete grafting kit.
Plant grafting has been done for hundreds of years. Grafting is done with many different plants, not just with tomatoes. My in-laws used grafting with some of their apple trees in their apple orchard. David and I have not done fruit grafting but some of our family members have. This article deals just with the grafting of tomatoes.
Grafting tomatoes allows the roots of the tomato plant to grow deeper thus allowing the plant to yield more. Grafting also helps with diseases that tomato plants are susceptible too.
In the video below, shot on January 13, 2015, David shows how to graft a tomato plant on to a tomato root stock during a presentation at his BNI meeting.
Below is a very brief explanation of grafting for tomato plants.
There are three kinds of grafting used for tomato plants, approach grafting, tube grafting, and cleft grafting.
Approach grafting is when you cut opposing tongue notches in the rootstock and the shoot of the plant that produces fruit, also known as a scion. With this type of graft, the shoot is not cut off from its own root system until after the graft heals. They fit together with spring-loaded grafting clips. Both the rootstock and the tomato plant are potted together until the grafting is healed. Then the scion is severed from the original root.
Tube grafting uses silicon grafting clips when the plants are very small.
Cleft grafting uses a V-shaped cut in the scion which is placed into the top of the root stock which has been sliced vertically down the center. Hold it together with a spring-loaded grafting clip.
The grafting clips should stay on the plant for seven to ten days to make sure the grafted branch attaches to the root stock. Then the clips should be removed so the plant can grow without being damaged by the clips.
Some things to keep in mind. The plants will need sun or artificial light for at least 12-14 hours a day. In most places, these are started in the winter time so sun may not be available for this long. You will need grow lights if this is the case.
Sometimes putting these in the window may not work since most windows will not get this amount of sunlight. If the plants do not get the right amount of sunlight, they will grow tall and thin instead of short and stubby. Tall and thin they will never perform correctly and may even die.
Be careful when buying pre-made growing products with pre-drilled holes for planting. I have found that many of these have holes that are 3/4 to 1 inch deep which is way to deep for these. 1/4 inch is all it takes for many types of seeds.
It is best to start some sicon plants a week before the rootstock, some when you plant the rootstock and some a week after. This way you will have them at about the same size.
For tomato grafting let the plants heal in a humidity zone at about 90% and in the dark for the first 24 to 48 hours. I have found that setting these on the kitchen table with a towel over them will work just fine.
When getting ready to graft, cut back on the water for 48 hours. When your plants are ready to plant outside, make sure you use a hardening off technique of some sort. Taking the plants from inside to outside and transplanting them without using this procedure will stunt the plant growth and even kill them. This is for all plants you transplant. Use a solution of fish fertilizer to help the new plants get established.
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