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Trying out the new grafted tomatoes

My experiment will compare the growth and production

My experiment will compare the growth and production of Mighty 'Mato, a grafted Big Beef tomato, left, with a conventional Big Beef, right, throughout the season. Photo Credit: Jessica Damiano

I received a package yesterday from Log House Plants, which contained two tomato plants: one conventional Big Beef and one "Mighty 'Mato" GRAFTED Big Beef tomato. 

I first heard some rumblings about grafted tomatoes last year, and over the winter, there was a slight buzz throughout the blogosphere. I didn't cover it because I have a strict, self-imposed policy about new products: Try them personally. Endorse them if they're good. Don't mention them if they aren't up to snuff (after all, my experiment might not be indicative of your experience.) 

Well, now that I'm getting ready to take this baby for a test run, I can give you an educated opinion. Grafted plants are created when the top portion of one plant, called the "scion," is fused to the root system of another, referred to as the "rootstock." The goal of grafting is usually to make the scion plant, which carries all the desireable traits (fragrance, color, blooms, etc.) into a stronger plant with the vigor and disease resistance of the rootstock  Trees are often grafted. Shrubs, too, especially roses. But usually not vegetables.

Mighty 'Mato was created by grafting big, yummy Big Beefs (the scion) onto the root system of another plant (not sure which) that is sturdy enough to help the plant grow bigger, and produce more and bigger fruit.

Sound too good to be true? We'll see: I'll plant my two Guinnea pigs side-by-side this weekend and report back on their progress throughout the season, so when they become widely available at the retail level next year, you'll know whether to run out and buy them or save your money.


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