Friday, 27 April 2012

Grafted tomatoes - a progress report

Our grafted tomato plants are progressing nicely. We removed the grafting clips five days after the grafts were performed and found that on each plant the graft had taken nicely. The plants were then moved out of their intensive care unit (in reality, a quiet indoor corner out of direct sunlight) and into the greenhouse. It's still too cold for them to go outside.
Left: the stems immediately after grafting - held together with a grafting clip. Right: the clip removed after five days and the graft has taken.
The next step is to complete the graft. At the moment, the top growth is being fed by two root systems - the root and stem from both the scion (top plant) and the rootstock. Once you see evidence of new growth at the top, it's time to cut off the bottom of the scion just below the graft. Be very careful here and make sure it is the stem of the scion that you cut, not the rootstock.

Left: the tomato plants on the day of the graft. Right: ten days later, the plants are growing well and are much bushier. 
Once that's done, you will have a fully grafted plant, with the vigorous, disease-resistant rootstock feeding the high-yielding fruit-bearing scion. Keep the plant in a warm sheltered spot again until it's fully recovered and then grow on as normal. The plants should be ready to go outside from mid-May here in the south-east.

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