Grafted Tomato Update

Laura7 comments599 views
Spread the love

Throughout the summer I’ve been reporting on the grafted tomatoes, called Mighty Matos, that Log House Plants sent me to try out.  Go here to see the earlier posts.

As I’ve said before, it is hardly fair to send a tomato to my house and expect it to live.  I’m just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean, and it’s always cold and foggy here, even in summer.  Yesterday, Labor Day, we turned the heater on for the first time.  Sweaters are regular August attire. And I’m on the road a lot, so I’m just not the most attentive summer vegetable gardener.  So really, this may not be the best possible trial they could have gotten.

Here’s a rather ugly picture of the messy tomato patch.  I put them in containers to keep the chickens away; that’s what the little lattice is for, also.  If this experiment is successful, I’ll build a better tomato bed next year. 

I would say that, between the grafted Sungold and the regular Sweet 100 I bought on impulse at the garden center, I’ve harvested about 20 cherry tomatoes as of early September.  Not enough to even bring in the house–they all get eaten right off the vine.

I also got a Siberian variety (yes, Siberia.  Sigh.  I live in tomato Siberia.) called ‘Sasha’s Altai.’  It has produced about three nice, red, flavorful tomatoes.  Definitely a variety I’d grow again.  They’re small, but this actually qualifies as a big ol’ tomato in my garden.  (If this story about it is true, I love it even more.)


And I have a whole bunch of these rock-hard, still green Big Beef grafted tomatoes.  They look great–but will they ripen before it gets too cold and all the tomato vines turn black and die?  That has been my only experience with larger tomatoes since I’ve lived here.  We’ll see.

There you have it.  There’s still time for a crazy wonderful tomato crop to come in.  I wait.

People have been asking me whether garden centers can really get away with charging more for these tomatoes.  I guess some garden centers are already looking ahead to next year and placing their orders.  So let me ask you:  IF these grafted veggies turn out to have a significantly better yield–maybe 50-100% more than their ungrafted counterparts–and/or IF they turn out to resist disease or otherwise stand up better to difficult conditions–what would you pay?  For, say, a 4-inch pot.  And again, let’s say this was a sure thing, and your garden center could absolutely assure you that the harvest was going to rock your world.

And if any of you are trying these out, do feel free to share links to your own posts.


Posted by

Amy Stewart
on September 7, 2011 at 4:11 am, in the category Eat This.


  1. Grafting a tomato really seems like more effort is wasted to make it than would be to simply plant one from seed or a cutting. I can see why you would do it if the yield is significantly better but call me skeptical!

  2. I in Sacramento, Ca; the land of tomatoes. However, it has been a slooow tomato year. My brandy wines have tons of green fruit, but I have only harvest two red one so far. The scuttlebutt at the garden center is that the smaller tomatoes are doing ok, but the big ones are languishing. Sigh. I’m afraid I wont have enough toms to put up for the winter, even though I have eight plants! Sniff.

  3. I live in Davis and am having a better tomato year than I have had in a long time, which I believe is because I solarized my soil last year to knock back root knot nematodes. I know those will return so if the grafted tomatoes mean a good selection that is resistant to the nematodes I would pay 2 or 3 times as much. If you don’t have adverse conditions I’m not sure the increased cost would be worth it.

  4. I live in the Oregon Cascades, and while we get a lot more sunshine than where Amy is, our season is shorter due to the more northern latitude. Some years are better for tomatoes than others. I’ve had good luck with the Siberian tomatoes; they have shorter seasons and while the individual tomatoes are smaller, the plants are prolific. Also, try the Siletz tomato, bred for the cooler west side of Oregon; short season (53 days I think), larger than the Siberians, good cropping.

  5. Gardening really starts in the soil. Thinking about what goes on a microscopic, bacterial level is something most of us rarely think about, but proves time and time again to really affect the quality and abundance that our garden yields. Investing in soil inoculants means investing in the health and fertility of your soil for years to come. I think more people should be aware and this site, http://www.biositechnology.com/, is a great resource to get all garden enthusiasts on a path toward a better and healthier harvest!

  6. I said this in the last post, but the main benefit of grafted tomatoes comes through increased resistance to soil born diseases, not necessarily increased yields. Of course, commercial growers who create optimal environments and soils for their growing operations often see both benefits. It seems a bit unfair to dismiss a horticultural technology that has been proven over hundreds of years in orchards, farms, and gardens simply because a single season in your garden in less-than-ideal conditions didn’t produce the bumper crop you thought it would.

Leave a Response