|Grafting improves the backyard tomato plant|
|Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Garden Editor|
|Thursday, 10 May 2012 08:55|
Home-grown tomatoes are always a popular feature at many homes. Even non-gardeners will often have a tomato plant or two outside their back door.
Rarely is there anything this new in tomato plants.
Klotz Flower Farm showcased a "grafted" tomato plant at the inaugural Wood County Home and Garden Expo held last weekend.
Gene Klotz says the new type of plant originated in Oregon and debuted on the west coast last year.
All of the plants being sold locally come from Oregon.
The grafting, a process which has been used successfully with other species, merges two varieties together to make a better plant.
Klotz says the merged plant is more disease resistant, more insect resistant, and will produce tomatoes all summer, once it starts producing fruit.
"They actually merged two vigorous types of tomatoes," Klotz said.
He added the tomato gets its hardy side from the roots, while the taste and overall fruit quality is derived from the grafted section of the plant.
Klotz cautions anyone who buys and plants these tomatoes to be sure and keep the grafted section above the soil level.
This is the first year for Klotz and the general public to have these tomatoes available.
"What we find, the plant itself will stay green and keep growing into September, rather than turning yellow and dying out,," Klotz said of the research and trials for the tomatoes.
There are two types available at the local greenhouse, the "Early Girl" and "Brandywine."
Most people are used to buying smaller tomato plants in the spring. These plants stand roughly a foot and a half tall. Because of their fully-grown size a, Klotz said he expects them to bear fruit by the end of the month.
The cost is higher than a standard tomato due to the grafting process and the larger plants being sold. The grafted plants are being sold for under $10 each at Klotz.
The plants are being sold under the "Mighty 'Mato" name. Developers said in a test last year, the grafted tomatoes were planted alongside standard tomatoes and the grafted plants "towered over their competition on their rope trellises, bearing fatter fruit and more of it."
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