Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tomato grafting a worthwhile pursuit

As the growing season begins to heat up, it's time to think tomatoes, specifically grafted tomato plants.

We've recently published a couple of interesting documents on tomato grafting to our website.

The first article, "Grafting Tomatoes for Increased Vigor and Disease Resistance", outlines the many benefits of grafting -- improved disease resistance, higher yields, cost effectiveness, to name a few. This 6-page article, written by our tomato products technician, includes detailed instructions and color photos to help you learn how to graft your own custom tomato plants. It's worth mentioning that we also have an excellent video from the University of Vermont Extension on tomato grafting, which pairs quite nicely with the article.

The second article shows the results of our grafted greenhouse tomato trial -- "Grafted Tomato Yield Data". We trialed 6 varieties of tomatoes in a hoophouse at our research farm  in Albion, Maine. We compared the yields of plants grafted to the rootstock Maxifort vs. non-grafted plants. Overall, yields were 40% higher on the grafted plants. One of the trial plants  -- Geronimo grafted to Maxifort rootstock -- did particularly well with a 60% higher yield than standalone Geronimo.

So well in fact that Johnny's is now carrying Geronimo/Maxifort plants. These exclusive plants are one of four tomato plant varieties available to purchase on our website. We've selected the following states for participation in this new tomato plant pilot program: CT, IL, IN, ME, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VT, WI. Visit the new Johnny's tomato plants web page to shop for tomato plants.

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