With the recent Tomato disaster I have had a good look at what our tomatoes growing options are:
1) SEEDS: Seeds are our cheapest option and have the greatest variety. This way you are in control of the timing of when you start and preferred growing medium, to do seedlings or sow direct. This is also the safest from desease and pests being imported into your garden. You can chose from Determinate, Indeterminate Open pollenate, Heirloom and Hybrids. Remember Hybrid seeds have less seeds and cost more. This is due to the extra work creating the cross pollenated fruit for seed.
2) SEEDLINGS come in 3 options. A) Heirlooms/ Open pollenated. These are your trusty faithfulls. They are passed down and shared as they are normally the best tasting, and the seed saving is easy following simple practices to prevent cross pollenation. Surving 40 years of true to type gives them Heirloom status. They often have a great story or historical value. Plants are a little fussy and suffer pests and desease. These are usually indertminate. B) Hybirds. Contrary to popular belief, these are not genetically modified, but rather a natural cross between 2 varieties, as mother nature has done since time started. Hybrids are bred for a purpose. Uniformity, size, shape colour, production, pest and desease resistence, flavour is a lesser consideration. Hybrid are normall a little more pricey as seed is more expensive, or subject to royalties. C) Grafted potted plants. This is is by far the most expensive way with the least options. It takes 2 seedlings and a whole lot of labour and care to create them.. Grafting is not new, thee are recordings that go back 4000 odd years of this practice happening in China and Mespopotammia. Root stock is chosen for 3 main advantages. Vigour, desease resistance or salinity tolerance. Grafted plants are up to 75% more productive than the same plant grown on its natural roots.
I saying that, there is nothing stopping us from grafting our own. James also seem keen. The challange is finding rootstock seed in a less than commercial size. Saying that why not try grafting 1 try onto another type as a learning experiment. With my young plants I can get them at the right size to attempt this soon. Look out for Purple Cherokee and Oaxacan Jewel on 1 plant 😊 in the near future.