Tag Archives | tomatoes

How to grow tomatoes and potatoes on one plant

This article will show you how to grow tomatoes and potatoes on one plant by grafting a tomato plant onto a potato plant. As summer slowly rolls to an end, we often find ourselves with an abundance of tomatos.  Many of the fruit remains green and not fully ripened.  I typically find myself asking, “What can I do different next year to get more fruit for my effort?”

 

It turns out there is an answer:  grafting tomato plants to potatoes.

How to grow tomatoes and potatoes on one plant

Grafted Plant Diagram (click image to see image source)

Over the centuries, smart gardeners and farmers have developed successful methods to use potato root stock to support tomatoes that may not otherwise be well suited to poor soil conditions in your garden.

 

This is a great way to save space in your garden!  You can start your potatoes early in the growing season to let them mature.  Leave some of the potato plants in place and perform the following grafting process to give your tomato plants a head start!

 

The process:

  1. Taking the potato plant (called the “stock”) cut the stem about 1-inch above the ground and split the stem in a V-shape.
  2. At the tomato plant (called a “scion”), cut the stem with at least 6 to 8 inches of length with a straight across cut.  I recommend choosing a tomato plant that has a stem roughly the same diameter as the potato plant rootstock.
  3. Shape the cut end of the tomato plant to a wedge shape so that it will fit into the potato plant stem’s V-shape cut.
  4. Carefully slide the tomato plant stem onto the potato rootstock.
  5. Wrap the graft location with grafting tape in order to hold the two plants together.
  6. The grafting tape needs to remain in place until the tomato plant begins to show new growth.

 

Here is an illustration of the grafting steps described above:

How to grow tomatoes and potatoes on one plant

Grafting Scion Section to Stock (click image to see image source)

Why does this grafting process work?  Tomato plants and potato plants are part of the family of plants called “nightshades”.  Both plants contain alkaloids that help protect the plants from insects (they can even be used to make an organic liquid pest control solution for aphids: Organic Aphid Control)

 

A point of caution, grafting can potentially affect the flavor of the tomato fruit.  Also, grafted plants may yield less fruit than two separate plants grown from seeds.  On the other hand, a major benefit is the grafting process will save you a lot of time and space!

How to grow tomatoes and potatoes on one plant

Tomato-Potato Graft Plant Starts (click image to see image source)

If you end up trying this next year, or plant to grow potatoes in general, we have the perfect garden box for potatoes (and for lots of other things too). We call it TogetherFarm Blocks. This is a modular garden box system made from 100% recycled, food-grade plastic that can be put together in any shape or size. Because it is modular, it is perfect for growing potatoes and tomatoes. Tomatoes will send out roots at any point that the stem is below the  surface of the soil. So, as the plant grows, you can add additional layers onto your modular garden box to give the plant even more strength and fruitfulness. With the potatoes, TogetherFarm Blocks makes it simple at harvest time. Simply pull apart the blocks to be able to get to all the potatoes underground. So cool! We are currently in the last few days of a Kickstarter Campaign to get these blocks to market. If you pledge now, we will ship you a kit at the end of January of next year – just in time for next year’s growing season. Here is a link to TogetherFarm Blocks on Kickstarter as well as a picture of an assembled box. Help us reach our goal and get incredible rewards. Pledge now!

 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/togetherfarm/turning-plastic-into-produce-togetherfarm-blocks

How to grow tomatoes and potatoes on one plant

TogetherFarm Blocks – an eco-friendly and easy way to build a garden box

 

Happy Gardening,

Matt and the TogetherFarm Produce Evangelists

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Try this for an end of Summer snack…

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One of my favorite garden fresh snacks uses fresh basil and sun-gold or cherry tomatoes. Here is how to prepare it:

Step 1: Pick some tomatoes and a handful of basil leaves from your garden.

Step 2: Put some crackers on a microwaveable plate and cut some slices of a cheese of your choice (I often use sharp cheddar). Put a piece of cheese on each cracker.

Step 3: Place the crackers and cheese in the microwave for 15-30 seconds or until the cheese starts to melt.

Step 4: Place a leaf of basil on the melted cheese on each cracker.

Step 5: Cut your tomatoes in half and place 1 or 2 halves (depending on the size of crackers you are using) onto the cracker open face down.

Step 6: Enjoy your delicious, garden fresh snack!

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Planting Tomatoes – Best Kept Secrets

Sungold Tomatoes

A couple of years back I learned a trick from a magazine that Al’s Garden Center puts out. It had to do with how to plant a tomato start. I had always known that it was helpful to wait till a tomato was about 12 inches tall before it was transplanted from the container to the garden bed. I had also known that it was important to bury about 80% of the plant when it is transplanted because tomatoes will grow roots from any part of the stem that is under ground. More roots equals more surface area to take in nutrients.

Planting a tomato start in a trench

But, what I didn’t know was that it is actually best to dig a small trench, about 4-6 inches deep and bury the tomato plant almost horizontally in the trench with just the top inch or so sticking out of the ground. Trench planting of a tomato plant has a couple of advantages. First, it allows for the stem to grow a root system that will be close to the surface, soaking up more water and nutrients more efficiently. Secondly, (and this is super important for those living in an area with a shorter growing season) trench planting of a tomato plant helps the plant mature quicker because the roots are near the surface of the garden bed where the soil is much warmer.

The last tip that was listed in the magazine article was specifically for growing tomatoes in a climate like Portland’s. They advised not watering the tomato plants after July 4th. The strategy behind this is that a tomato plant goes in to full fruit production stage when it gets less water. If you keep watering the tomato plant, it will just keep growing more leafy stems and not necessarily produce as much fruit.

So, there you have it. Give it a try this season and let us know how it goes. The last 2 years I have grown Sungold Tomato plants that are at least 6-8 feet tall and produced more golden tomatoes than a small village could eat.

Source article link from Al’s Garden Center: A Tomato Tale

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