First Seeds Started for 2011
Can you believe that it’s time to pore over catalogs and start planning the garden for 2011? We are having our first planning meeting for the Demonstration Garden next week, and I already know there are some great ideas for this summer!
One project that I’ve been meaning to try for a year and a half now is to try grafting some tomatoes. This is a fairly new and emerging technology in the U. S., although they’ve been doing it in Asia for a long time. If you want to read a very thorough article about the history of the technique and how it is done, check out this publication from North Carolina: Grafting for Disease Resistance in Heirloom Tomatoes (PDF). (The primary author on this article is our new K-State vegetable specialist, Cary Rivard. We’re excited to have him!)
Here’s the first step in the grafting procedure. I planted some seeds of 4 types of Heirloom tomatoes that I had on hand (Large Barred Boar, Rose, Brandywine, and Purple Russian). On the other side of the tray are the rootstocks, which are the variety ‘Maxifort.’ It is intended to be a rootstock variety, so it isn’t a commonly know variety. Theoretically you could use a regular hybrid that is disease resistant.
What I’m hoping to learn from this planting of seeds is how long it takes all of them to germinate. (This will be even more exciting, since all the seeds are older!) If they all happen to germinate within a 2 day window, then I will try the grafting technique when the plants reach the right size. If they don’t germinate within a 2 day window, then I will replant, staggering the plantings to get them to germinate at the same time. It should be a fun experiment for the late winter!