Great Grafted Vegetable Plants
What Is A Grafted Vegetable Plant?
Grafting is a natural method that lends heirloom plants the vigor of hybrid varieties while producing true heirloom fruit. Grafting is a centuries-old technique dating back some 7,000 years ago in China. Grafting provides flavorful heirloom varieties with the disease-resistance, high yields, and stress tolerance that are so often lacking.
How It Works:
There are two parts to a grafted plant: rootstock, the underground rooting portion; and scion, the fruiting portion on top. The rootstock is chosen for its vigorous growth, disease-resistance, high fruit yields, and tolerance to stressful growing conditions. The scion is selected because it is a delicious heirloom, often with large colorful fruits, that lacks in productivity and disease resistance. First both rootstock and scion are grown to the seedling stage. Both the scion and rootstock seedlings are then cut, by hand, at 45 degree angles. A small plastic clip is slipped over the newly cut rootstock and the scion is slipped in to the other end of the clip, aligning the cuts.
After a few days of healing in a sterile, light-restricted, high-humidity environment, the scion has grown on to the rootstock, creating the newly grafted plant. When the plants come out of healing they are hungry and thirsty. After some food and water the plant will begin to push new roots and new leaves. Here’s the exciting part: The roots that take up nutrients to support healthy plants, will be of the mighty rootstock variety. The tops, that yield the beautiful and delicious fruit, will be of the heirloom scion variety. With this merging you’ll have lush plants loaded with delicious heritage fruits.
Important Planting Instructions:
Plants should be planted in the soil with the grafting scar well above the soil level. If the scion part of the stem comes into contact with the soil, it will most likely root, negating the benefits of the rootstock. To be sure that the graft scar remains above your soil line, plant the root ball level with your garden soil, not deeper. If branches form below the grafting scar, on the stem of the rootstock, simply pinch or snip them off.