• Banner 08

Why Grafted Vegetables are Ideal for Sustainable Farming Practices

The practice of farming with grafted vegetables in South Africa is relatively new, but with several benefits associated with the technique, more and more farmers have taken an interest. A short introduction to the practice is given below, helping farmers not yet familiar with the potential benefits of crop farming with grafted plants to make an informed decision regarding the choice of seedlings for their next crop.

What are Grafted Vegetables?

  These are hybrid plants in the sense that two or more varieties of plants are combined to create a new plant with the desired characteristics. The process entails the fusion of the upper part and leaf system of one or more plants with the lower part of the stem and roots of another plant. The upper part is referred to as the scion and this is the part that is attached onto the rootstock.


Complexity of the Grafting Process

  This process makes it possible to get important characteristics through the selection of an appropriate rootstock and specific fruit qualities through the choice of scion. The grafting process is precise and entails the use of varieties that are compatible. In addition, the process must be completed in a disease-free and clean environment. Post-grafting care is essential as the plants require recovery time. Given the complexity of the process, the research that goes into the compatibility of varieties, and which characteristics to achieve, it is understandable that most farmers prefer to buy these seedlings rather than attempt grafting the plants themselves.

  Scientific research is conducted and trained agronomists with years of experience in grafting and growing vegetables perform the procedures in a controlled environment. The plants are then raised until the appropriate stage before the seedlings are delivered to farmers. All the seedlings are grown in special greenhouse facilities at the bulk-supply nurseries where the plugs are protected against diseases and environmental factors.

Grafted Vegetable Seedlings - Cucumber Seedlings

Why Grafted Vegetables?


Despite the extensive research required, precision control, and high costs involved in developing the desired characteristics, grafting is becoming more popular and for good reason. These plants show improved yield capacity, better tolerance to certain soil-borne conditions, and uniform stand. With fewer pesticides required for crop farming, the environmental impact of commercial crop farming can be lowered. With this method, stronger plants are grown, which makes it possible for farmers to grow their grafted crops in open field and greenhouse environments alike.

  Farmers benefit from improved economic viability of their crop propagation endeavours. Better fruit quality, higher yield, and reduced need for chemicals are not benefits to ignore. Improved water and nutrient uptake has been reported. It has also been reported that grafted vegetables can be planted later than their ungrafted peers, while longer fruiting periods are possible.

  Grafting has become a viable tool to manage crop diseases, thereby reducing the reliance on chemical treatments. As sustainability has taken a front seat in just about any discussion about large scale farming practices for the future, it is an agriculture technique that is here to stay.

  With grafted plants, it is possible for farmers to grow their crops in the same fields their crops were grown in the previous year. Many of the soil-borne diseases do not have the same devastating effects on these plants as on the conventional types.

  Grafting has also been reported as a much needed and innovative approach to generate vegetable plants more tolerant to abiotic stress because of the stronger root formation and improved nutrient uptake abilities of these plants. With better nutrient uptake also comes a longer harvest period and stronger plants.


Which Vegetables are Grafted?

  At this stage, a limited range of vegetables are grafted, including watermelon, melon, cucumber, pepper, and tomato. Although there are farmers who graft their own plants, this approach can be time-consuming. Rather than go through a costly trial and error process to achieve the desired results, farmers can purchase grafted vegetable seedlings from nurseries, such as Hishtil SA, leading the way for bulk supply of superior quality vegetable seedlings to farmers across South Africa. The nursery delivers seedlings to farmers anywhere in the country and provides technical support to these farmers.

  Farmers interested in learning more about grafted seedlings for growing vegetables are invited to get in touch with Hishtil SA.