This year, I am growing 6 grafted vegetable plants: 3 tomatoes, 2 eggplants and 1 pepper. As you might have heard, grafted plants are all the rage due to their impressive productivity.
In the case of grafted tomatoes, scions (cuttings) of different cultivars are grafted onto extremely hardy and vigorous rootstock. The rootstock tend to have increased tolerance of cool soil temperatures, increased disease resistance and, thanks to the larger roots, they are able to support an increased amount of fruit.
I grew a grafted 'Black Pear' tomato and a non-grafted tomato side by side last year and was very impressed with their performance. At the end of the season, the non-grafted plant yielded 7 lbs. of tomatoes, while the grafted plant yielded an amazing 21 lbs.! Wow.
(L) 'Brandywine', (R) 'Black Cherry' tomatoes
This year, I decided to test grafted veggie plants a bit more. I ordered 3 plants from Territorial Seeds (www.territorialseed.com): 1 'Legend' tomato, 1 'Rosa Bianca' eggplant and 1 'California Wonder' pepper plant.
Because I'm a member of the Garden Writers Association, I also received a package from Mighty 'Mato which is a wholesale grower of grafted veggies. They sent me 2 grafted tomatoes ('Brandywine' and 'Black Cherry') and an 'Epic' eggplant.
'California Wonder' pepper
So far, all of the plants except the pepper are growing well. The tomato plants are large and robust and have a lot of tomatoes on them. 'Legend' (top photo) has been very impressive with its growth and we've already harvested 3 ripe tomatoes. The 'Brandywine' -- an heirloom variety that requires a long growing season -- looks terrific. There are a lot of tomatoes on it and I'm hoping they will start ripening soon. The 'Black Cherry' tomato has a lot of growth but it's not as dense as the other two tomatoes as you can see.
So far, the pepper plant (right) has been a bit of a disappointment in that it's quite small but it does have a few peppers growing on it. We'll see what happens with that one.
The 'Epic' eggplant (left) is doing well. There are 2 developing eggplants on it, one of which is just about ready to harvest. The 'Rosa Bianca' eggplant has good growth but is still at the flowering stage.
Take a look at the photos to see how they're doing (click on any of them to enlarge the image).