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Advantages of Farming Grafted Tomato Seedlings

Trends and Advantages of Commercial Farming from Grafted Tomato Seedlings

Commercial crop farming from nursery-supplied grafted tomato seedlings is relatively new in South Africa, though the practice is quickly catching on because of the many benefits associated with grafting. Using this technique, it is possible to obtain the desired characteristics of two plants in one plant. The rootstock of one plant is combined with the leafy top part of another, resulting in a new plant with the best characteristics of both.

Grafting has been done for centuries and watermelon was among the earliest of commercially grafted crops. Though it may be a new concept to order grafted tomato seedlings in bulk, the technique of grafting has been proven over centuries across the world. Special nurseries that focus on grafting vegetable plants to improve yield, fruit quality, and disease resistance are now able to deliver grafted tomato seedlings at affordable prices for large-scale commercial farming. Using this technique, it is possible to cultivate a wider variety of rootstock. This, in turn, makes it possible for nurseries to deliver plants specifically cultivated to have vigorous root systems, which means that the plants gain an improved ability to take up water and essential nutrients.

Grafting makes it possible to develop a rootstock with certain characteristics such as disease tolerance, which is especially important for tomato farmers. Farmers thus benefit from having plants that are tolerant to soil-borne bacteria, fungi, and nematode diseases. This is important, as it means that the need for pesticides and chemical treatments to keep the plants disease-free is lower.

How It Works

In its simplest form, the scion or upper part of a plant is, for instance, chosen for its fruit characteristics and the rootstock – or lower part of the other plant – for its vigour and tolerant to soil pathogens. The scion of one plant is transplanted onto the rootstock of another. The two plants grow as one with the desired characteristics. Several grafting methods exist and they all require precision and care to bring about the desired results. The seedlings are grown in special greenhouse facilities where the plants are protected against pests and diseases. Once the grafted tomato seedlings are ready to be transplanted, they are delivered to the farmer. The farmer prepares the soil beforehand, ensuring that immediate transplantation to the field can take place.

How the Farmer Benefits

The seedlings are chemically treated before delivery to the farmer. As such, the plants are protected against pests and diseases until the farmer can start with their chemical-treatment programme. There is, therefore, a reduced need for chemical treatment and a lower risk of plant loss due to poor germination rates often associated with growing from seed. The plants have improved uniformity, a higher yield, and better fruit quality, as well as tolerance to soil-borne pathogens.

Where to Order

Farmers can order high-quality grafted tomato seedlings from Hishtil South Africa.

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