As I've said before, it is hardly fair to send a tomato to my house and expect it to live. I'm just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean, and it's always cold and foggy here, even in summer. Yesterday, Labor Day, we turned the heater on for the first time. Sweaters are regular August attire. And I'm on the road a lot, so I'm just not the most attentive summer vegetable gardener. So really, this may not be the best possible trial they could have gotten.
Here's a rather ugly picture of the messy tomato patch. I put them in containers to keep the chickens away; that's what the little lattice is for, also. If this experiment is successful, I'll build a better tomato bed next year.
I would say that, between the grafted Sungold and the regular Sweet 100 I bought on impulse at the garden center, I've harvested about 20 cherry tomatoes as of early September. Not enough to even bring in the house–they all get eaten right off the vine.
I also got a Siberian variety (yes, Siberia. Sigh. I live in tomato Siberia.) called 'Sasha’s Altai.’ It has produced about three nice, red, flavorful tomatoes. Definitely a variety I'd grow again. They're small, but this actually qualifies as a big ol' tomato in my garden. (If this story about it is true, I love it even more.)
And I have a whole bunch of these rock-hard, still green Big Beef grafted tomatoes. They look great–but will they ripen before it gets too cold and all the tomato vines turn black and die? That has been my only experience with larger tomatoes since I've lived here. We'll see.
There you have it. There's still time for a crazy wonderful tomato crop to come in. I wait.
People have been asking me whether garden centers can really get away with charging more for these tomatoes. I guess some garden centers are already looking ahead to next year and placing their orders. So let me ask you: IF these grafted veggies turn out to have a significantly better yield–maybe 50-100% more than their ungrafted counterparts–and/or IF they turn out to resist disease or otherwise stand up better to difficult conditions–what would you pay? For, say, a 4-inch pot. And again, let's say this was a sure thing, and your garden center could absolutely assure you that the harvest was going to rock your world.
And if any of you are trying these out, do feel free to share links to your own posts.
Posted by Amy Stewart on September 7, 2011 at 4:11 am, in the category Eat This.