Grafting heirloom tomatoes for field production

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2009: $8,034.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Peter Garnham
East End Community Organic Farm

Annual Reports


  • Vegetables: tomatoes


  • Crop Production: grafting

    Proposal summary:

    Current Issue

    Heirloom tomatoes are increasingly popular everywhere from farm stands and farmers’ markets to large retail stores. However, many growers either avoid them altogether or grow limited amounts, because of their susceptibility to disease and relatively poor yield. Grafted tomatoes (heirloom scions on special root stocks) have been shown to avoid these problems, yet their use has been restricted to hoophouse/greenhouse or hydroponic production. I have grown small quantities of grafted tomatoes for two years and field-planted them with moderate success.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    By growing commercial quantities of grafted transplants for three commercial growers, and subjecting them to stresses normally encountered by hybrid and other ‘regular’ transplants, I plan to investigate whether commercially useful quantities of grafted transplants:

    1. Can be produced on-farm at a cost that can be justified by the higher selling price for heirloom tomatoes;
    2. Are viable for normal field transplanting techniques;
    3. Are able to satisfactorily resist diseases; and
    4. Produce quantities of marketable fruit that are at least competitive with hybrid transplants

    The results will be shared with interested growers with a publication, Tomato Grafting: A Guide for Northeast Growers that will be made available online as a PDF document on the EECO Farm website at, the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Suffolk County website at, at three on-farm workshops, and at CCE’s winter vegetable growers meeting.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.