Grafting heirloom tomatoes for organic high tunnel production to improve season extension, disease control, and fruit yield: A partnership with local growers for technology transfer

Project Overview

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2013: $14,999.00
Projected End Date: 09/13/2017
Region: Southern
State: Florida
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Xin Zhao
University of Florida

Annual Reports


  • Vegetables: tomatoes


  • Crop Production: grafting, high tunnels or hoop houses
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
  • Pest Management: cultural control
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    This project is a site-specific evaluation of grafting as an economically feasible tool for soil-borne disease management in organic tomato production in high tunnels.  We are proposing to use commercially available resistant tomato rootstocks to graft susceptible heirloom and specialty tomato cultivars grown in organically managed high tunnels at Frog Song Organics.  By teaching the growers how to produce grafted tomato transplants onsite in a cost-effective way, we expect to establish a partnership with local growers for technology transfer which allows for a practical assessment of grafting with respect to its potential for improving long-term sustainability of high-value vegetable production systems under high tunnels.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Objective 1. Determine the effectiveness of grafting with resistant rootstocks for controlling soil-borne diseases in heirloom and specialty tomatoes grown in organically managed high tunnel.

    Objective 2. Assess fruit yield and quality as affected by grafting with vigorous disease-resistant rootstocks.

    Objective 3. Analyze the costs and returns of high tunnel production of grafted tomatoes to determine its economic feasibility in a commercial operation setting.

    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.