Osmocote Advertisement

Good Graft


The hot new thing in vegetable gardening is grafted plants. Burpee and Ball and other plant breeders have developed grafted tomatoes and eggplants in recent years, and I saw them growing in the trial beds at The Gardens at Ball in West Chicago last summer. The idea is that the vigorous rootstock will make the fruiting part of the plant grow faster and produce more fruit. The idea has been common practice with roses for decades.

The breeders started by focusing on heirloom plants such as the ‘Brandywine’ tomato because heirlooms sometimes aren’t as productive as we would like them to be. Heirlooms often don’t have the disease resistance of some modern hybrids, but most fans would say they make up for that with superior taste, plus the fact that you can save their seed if you like and have the fun of being part of a practice that goes back centuries.

Photos courtesy of Burpee Home Gardens

Burpee “gifted” me with three of their tomato plants this year, and someone else sent me a grafted eggplant to try. I am eagerly eyeing their progress and hoping for great things. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been cooperating, so they have mainly been standing around like grumpy commuters at a bus stop waiting in the cold rain for a long overdue bus. Hopefully the weather will stabilize soon and we’ll get the warm sunny days these plants need to grow. In the meantime, my roses are looking terrific.

categories

popular

Article Thumbnail
Blog
Rain, Rain Go Away!

Our official National Weather Service rain gauge clocked in with 3.60 inches of rain at 7 a.m. this morning. And more is ...


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Imagine That

I was awakened recently by the sound of a pigeon rattling my bedroom window. Peeking with one cautious eye from beneath my …


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Guns and Roses

It seems that I’m either easily amazed or not fazed at all by new information. If you were to tell me that science ...


Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - JulyAug 2016

Seen any good movies lately? One to put at the top of your list is “Greenfingers,” whose title is the English term for having …


Article Thumbnail
Departments
From the Editor - MayJune 2017

The day began with signs of gloom and doom. A new report from the National Wildlife Foundation said that monarch butterfly ...


questions

I have two strawberry plants in a hanging basket in my yard. I have not had any fruit from them although the vines hang down. I give them plant food once a month and water daily. What am I doing wrong?

Can I grow asparagus from seed? I saved the little red berries from my plants.

We have a skylight in the bathroom over our Jacuzzi tub with an area around the tub that is quite large. What plants can we grow there, and what care do they need? Can we grow orchids?

ChicagolandGardening Advertisement