First off, I’m addicted to home-grown tomatoes. My entire family is too; and because they live in a cooler climate they rely on me for their tomato supply. The last few years we’ve had problems with various soil borne viruses that have impacted the tomato supply. I generally plant 24 tomatoes, 12 eaters and 12 canners. To address the tomato supply issue, we are planning to graft heirloom varieties onto virus resistant rootstock this year. If the plan is successful, and if the grafted tomatoes produce as advertised, I’ll be swimming in tomatoes by July. I’ve got plenty of experience grafting fruit trees, so I’m confident the process will work. There are a lot of different techniques to graft tomatoes, so if someone has some advice I’d love to hear it. In the meanwhile, I can’t wait to get a toasted tomato sandwich.
Soil borne virus! - Crop rotation springs to mind. If my memory serves me correctly Tomatoes are the same family as Potatoes which is also prone to soil borne diseases - leave the patch of soil fallow for a season or two. Grow other crops in the meantime. Search Google
I don’t have any experience grafting maters but this is really interesting!
As they say, “You can’t buy love, and you can’t buy homegrown tomatoes.” I used to know a guy over at the Agricultural Extension. I would see him drive by my house every now and then. I might have to run out into the street to get him to stop. That is, I hope he’ll stop! I don’t have the room to rotate crops. I’ll give it a try and report back later. If anyone else wants to try a grafted tomato, you can buy them at nurseries, etc. They are a little pricey but if you are just getting one or two it isn’t too bad.
Here in the UK, most gardeners grow tomatoes in pots or growbags in a greenhouse. Replacing the compost each year and using a liquid feeding all adds up. Not sure what the economics of doing that is.
Many gardeners will grow from seed others favour plug plants. The UK is pretty much geared up with factory style nurseries there is a huge demand for fruit, flower and vegetable seedlings. We also import a lot of plants from the Netherlands
The up side is you can choose to grow a variety of tomatoes.
The UK? I watch a lot of your TV shows. (Sometimes I wish they were subtitled.) Here in California’s Central Valley we’ve got a pretty good climate for growing tomatoes, no greenhouse necessary. Grow bags and special potting soil would be nice, but we are pretty dry and bags require more irrigation water due to evaporation. We are constantly in a drought so I opt for water conserving techniques. Anyway, we’ve got the rootstock tomatoes germinated, hopefully the heirloom seeds sprout soon. Otherwise the size won’t match and the grafts may not take.
Yes, some of our regional accents are hard to decipher the same thing is true of many North American accents.
I appreciate what you are saying about growing in drought conditions. Tomatoes need water and it’s hard to get the balance right. I visited my sister in Australia some years back and I was astonished how plants survived the scorching heat and lack of water. Whilst there she snapped a flower that was getting a bit leggy and pushed the stem in the sandy soil. I said to her shouldn’t you water it in, sure she said and tipped a cup of water round the base of the plant which was sitting in full sun. I didn’t say anything but what went through my mind was that will surely die before the sun sets. I headed off next day to the eastern states and when I returned three months later I was astonished to find that little stem she had pushed into the ground was in full bloom. I learned a lot from that experience. It was on that trip that I learned about water retaining chrystals. Growing plants under nets and below tin roofs to reflect the sun and reduce evaporation. You might want to check out some Aussie Gardening Vids on YouTube about this topic. I also noticed some guys from the USA on YouTube using 10 litre recycled plastic food containers to build a continuous cycle irrigation system. Where the water passes from one container to the next. A kind of water conservation system.
Stumbled on this Vid, and thought it might interest you. BTW how did you make out with the grafted toms ?
The tomato grafting experiment is still early in the process but looks promising. The garden is planted now and I can compare non-grafted plants with grafted plants. Here is a photo of the same variety of tomato (Sweet 100), planted at the same time, raised in the same greenhouse, etc. The tomato on the right is grafted onto a special rootstock, the tomato on the left is not grafted. The plants are in the ground now and although the difference isn’t as pronounced, it is still very noticeable. I’ve made a few errors along the way, but so far I’m pretty satisfied. The real test will come later in the year when the soil-borne viruses start to take effect. The video you linked looks like a workable solution for people that don’t use drip irrigation (as I do). But they made one big error. The wire mesh is too small - they will be able to see the tomatoes, but not pick them without leaning into the cage and those cages are going to be filled with tomato vines. Anyway, I think I’m about five weeks from toasted tomato sandwiches.
I guess it’s like learning banjo, you gotta make a few mistakes along the way