I’ve been reading up a bit on grafting tomato plants. This technique is widely used in the greenhouse industry and in fields where soil-borne diseases are a significant problem.
A variety which produces desirable fruit is used as the scion, while a vigorous variety (often an interspecific hybrid of two Lycopersicon species) with multiple disease tolerance is used as the rootstock. Needless to say, the grafting procedure can be time-consuming and a bit expensive, since one would have to raise at least twice as many seedlings. Obviously cost-benefit analyses favor grafting in many operations.
Well I’m not at that level – yet. But some recent online discussion with others has rekindled an idea which I’ve been contemplating for some time:
Chimeric Cherry Tomato
You guessed it – start with a vigorous indeterminate variety (such as Behemoth King or Church) as the rootstock. Grow it for a month or so, then start several varieties of excellent-flavored cherry tomato. Hopefully the rootstock will have several branches on it by the time it’s six weeks old or so. Graft the younger scions onto those branches. Apparently superglue makes grafting tomatoes quick and easy – I haven’t tried it yet.
Once all the grafts have taken and are growing well, terminate the main stem. Wait a few weeks and you’ll have, theoretically, a healthy vine that produces 3 or more cherry tomato varieties.
This would be a pleasure to grow for those who love a variety of sweet little tomatoes but have room for only one plant.
What would be a fair asking price for such an interesting, tasty, unusual seedling?
Here are the varieties I’m considering for scions:
• Chocolate Cherry
• Snow White
• Rose Quartz
• Green Grape
I guess it’s about time to get this project started!
Did you ever try this? I had the same idea and googled it to see if anyone had tried. Love the idea and a great selection! I would suggest some yellow pear toms, they’re so prolific!
I took steps towards creating a “chimeric cherry tomato” plant – planting seeds of the specific varieties, etc. But it turns out that successful grafting of tomato seedlings has been very difficult for me – more than 95% failure rate so far. I’ll need to get the right setup, or “hospital” as they call it: very carefully controlled temperature and humidity, free of fungal spores etc. that might invade the wound.
Yellow Pear would be an excellent choice for the main scion – super vigorous and healthy, though the fruits themselves are rather bland to my pallet. I’m thinking a chimeric cherry tomato plant would be ideal in a heated greenhouse or climate where it could be left to grow for a couple of years. Too much work to have frost kill it after just 100 days! Some day still perhaps…