The Grafting Process – what makes Suttons Grafted Tomato Plants so special?
Grafting process on Suttons Tomato plants
Over the last year Suttons UK Nursery team has been busy developing our grafting technique to ensure these exceptional plants continue to be the most vigorous and hardy plants that will provide you with plenty of tasty vegetables throughout the summer. With this in mind, Suttons Seeds has developed an improved grafting technique that is now used on all tomato plants in order to produce even more fruit, earlier and over a longer period!
How are plants grafted?
Two plants are grown simultaneously; a tasty fruiting variety and a super-strong rootstock.
The tops of the fruiting variety and the super-strong rootstock are carefully and skilfully removed by hand using a small blade to slice at an angle across each stem.
The rootstock bottom and the top of the fruiting plant are then grafted together using a special clip which drops off naturally as the plant grows.
Where are plants grafted?
The new grafting position is now taken above the first true leaf formed above the ‘seedling’ leaves (cotyledons). Please note: This process is currently only being used on tomato plants.
Why graft plants above the first true leaf?
Grafting the plant above the first true leaf ‘fools’ the young plant into thinking it’s older than it really is. The plant therefore produces its fruit much earlier and much lower down the stem to give you an even greater yield!
New rafting process:
- At least 6-8 trusses per single plant
- At least 5-6 trusses per stem on doubles and duo’s!
- Up to 75% more fruit than ordinary tomato plants*
- Even earlier fruiting
- Even longer fruiting period
- Even greater yield
- Even greater resistance to soil-borne pests and disease
- Even better for outdoor growing
Healthy, vigorous, hardy and producing up to 70% more fruit!
Suttons Grafted Tomato Plants Single, Double or Duo – what’s the difference?
Looking after your Suttons Grafted Tomato Plants
We know how excited you’ll be to get your new Suttons Grafted Plant (or plants!) home, but please do take a few moments to read the following information to ensure you get the absolute best from your plants.
Nothing tastes quite like fresh vegetables picked straight from your garden and the delicious vegetables produced from Suttons Grafted Plants are sure to wow you, your friends and family, and leave you eager to cook up a storm in the kitchen!
Unlike some, all Suttons grafted plants are grown in our own UK nursery and undergo rigorous inspections by our vegetable experts ensuring you only receive the highest quality plants.
Stand the plant in a warm, light, airy place such as a windowsill or conservatory and allow to grow, ensuring that the compost is kept moist.
Potting on and planting out your tomato plants
As the tomato plant grows and develops it will need transferring into a larger pot (as per the label) to ensure the roots have plenty of room to grow. When planting in its new pot or outdoors, ensure that the point at which the graft was made (where there is a ‘bump’ on the stem) is above the compost/soil as otherwise the variety will root itself, spoiling the advantage of growing on a super-strong rootstock.
Side-shooting your grafted tomatoes
Around May /June time you will see small shoots growing from the ‘V’ space between the main stem and the leaf branches. These are called side shoots and will need removing (they do not bare fruit) to ensure the plant dedicates its growth and nutrients to what will be the fruiting trusses. To remove these, simply take hold of one between your thumb and forefinger at the bottom of the shoot and ‘pinch’ it at right angles to the leaf to remove it from the plant.
Please note: If you are growing a Tomato Lizzano, there is no need to remove side shoots, simply let it grow into a bountiful bush.
Trimming & training your grafted tomato plants
As your tomato plant develops the leaves will act as ‘solar panels’, soaking up the daylight and creating lots of healthy minerals which will eventually end up in your tomatoes.
Each leaf should have plenty of room to bask in the sun and should be supported off the ground.
If a leaf is in shade it will produce less sugar and stay slightly damp which means it will be more susceptible to disease and produce less and smaller fruit.
To trim your plants leaves, simply use some secateurs to remove any low hanging or overcrowding leaves. Initially, the procedure of removing leaves should be kept to the lower part of the plant below the first ripening truss of fruit.
As the plants grow, you can gradually remove further leaves to allow the light to reach the ripening fruit.
Training or Supporting
Once your grafted tomato plant starts to flower you will need to support it. There are two ways of doing this; by using either a 1.5m (5′) cane to support your plant, or string/twine to train your plant. When using canes, simply place your cane into the soil as close to the main stem as possible. Using a small piece of twine, loop it around the cane, cross over itself and then loop around the stem to form a figure of 8 and tie off. Do this at regular intervals above the fruiting branches. However, the most effective way (and favoured by Suttons Seeds) is to train your plants upward using vertical twine and wrapping the string clockwise around the plant as it grows.
Once your plant has a good crop of tomatoes growing later in the season, they need to be given the chance to mature into large, juicy fruits. To do this, simply remove the growing tip or tips (if growing doubles or duos) from the top of the plant. This directs all the nutrients and final growing vigour produced by the plant into the ripening fruits. With Suttons new grafting technique you will achieve at least 1 extra fruiting truss meaning you can expect to achieve approximately 6-8 trusses of tomatoes from one single grafted plant and 5-6 trusses per stem on doubles and duos!
Please note: The Lizzano grafted plant is a ‘bush-type’ plant and requires no pinching, pruning or supporting. Simply let it grow and grow!
Food & Watering
Suttons Grafted Plants, by their nature, are more vigorous than standard plants and as such will require more feeding. We recommend that you feed your grafted plants from when the first flower buds appear with a fertiliser that contains high potash levels. You may have to feed your plants twice a week when the plants are fruiting well. Water is also an essential element to the success of your plants.
A 9 litre (2 gallon) watering can full of water/feed for each plant once the sun has gone down (if the compost or soil is drying) will ensure you have large juicy fruits that will taste delicious from early summer and into the autumn!
When your fruits are an even orange-red (or orange in the case of Orangino) in colour but still firm they are ready to harvest. Once they start to ripen, check your plant every couple of days to ensure you don’t miss any delicious fruits. Use your thumb and finger to snap the fruit stem at the swollen area just above the fruit. Leaving the green stalk on the fruit will prolong the fruits life. For the best flavour, tomatoes should be stored at room temperature; however they can also be stored in the refrigerator.
The perfect addition to a summer salad.