Wow March is here already. We usually try to have our first crop of greenhouse tomatoes in the ground the first week of March. This year I pushed the germination date forward by two weeks to try to save some fuel in the greenhouse. This year we seeded 750 tomatoes on January 19th and expect to transplant near March 18 in the first house. The seeding for the second house was done on February 19th of another 750 tomatoes. For several years we have liked the variety Cobra, and for the last 5 years we have been grafting these tasty tomatoes to a stronger and more disease resistant root, Maxifort or Beaufort.
Tomato Grafting is as simple as (or as hard as) severing the top of the tasty tomato and sticking on the top of the decapitated rootstock and holding it there with a tiny clothes pin clip. After about two weeks they are one plant with the attributes of both. Although straightforward this process is delicate and stressful; as you are betting the whole crop on your knife skills. Severing the connection with the stem you must handle the plants in a specific manner to help them heal. This is a very common practice used in fruit trees and ornamental for hundreds of years. This year I took a year off from the tomato grafting for the greenhouses; and will probably return to it next year if the results prove the difference. I do however expect to try grafting somefield heirlooms this year. They are wonderful tasting varieties but were given up on by farmers because they are so weak and disease prone. Giving these weak plants a strong root system should double their pounds of fruit per plant.