Friday, February 27, 2015

Grafted tomatoes: BUSTED!

Back in April, I had high hopes for grafted tomatoes, touted by Burpee and others for their winning combination of heirloom fruit (great taste) and hybrid root stock (tough and more disease resistant than heirlooms). I bought six.

Grafted tomatoes: BUSTED!

Back in April, I had high hopes for grafted tomatoes, touted by Burpee and others for their winning combination of heirloom fruit (great taste) and hybrid root stock (tough and more disease resistant than heirlooms). I bought six.

BUSTED!

All my tomatoes were late. You remember the rain we had? But once the rain stopped, I expected the crop to come in. Two of the grafteds produced a small number of tomatoes; of those, the Brandywines were normal size, the Mortgage Lifters were puny. Four of those vaunted and expensive heirloom-hybrids produced no tomatoes at all.

What tomatoes did I reliably get this summer? Fourth of July (another Burpee). Not the greatest tasting, but that plant began making golf ball-sized fruit in June and is still popping out 3-4 a week. Cherokee Purple - had a few. Pineapple - excellent performance until about a week ago when the plant just turned yellow and croaked.

Next year I may buy one or two grafteds and try again in a different spot. I've already cleared a sunny area for that. But beyond that, I plan to go with traditional hybrids and heirlooms and take my chances. The only claim my grafteds fulfilled was height: Most of them got to be about 10 feet tall. And yes, as I expected back in April, they were a conversation piece. (Too bad it was mostly talk, not much action.)

Now I'm on the hunt for a green tomato recipe. I have lots of those.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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