Here's Osborne Seed's newest adventure!
Last Thursday Cherri, Elaine and Chris attended a grafting workshop that was offered by Washington State University's Northwest Research Station in Mount Vernon. Dr. Carol Miles led the workshop together with her assistant Patty Kreiger. Great attendance confirmed that there is much interest in grafting in our area. Western Washington is a marginal growing environment for solanaceae species and some cucurbits like melons and watermelons.
Some of the benefits of grafting are more vigorous rootstocks that are able to better absorb nutrients and that adapt to less than ideal soil conditions. WSU's Dr. Miles is studying possible improved disease tolerance. Better yields and earlier maturity are also potential advantages.
We currently offer "Estamino" tomato rootstock and are searching for other promising compatible products to work with tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and melons. We will keep you advised. In the meantime we have taken our "babies" (tomatoes, eggplants and watermelon) grafted at the workshop home to the office in an improvised "healing chamber" and keep a daily eye on them. So far they are all doing very well. Everyone can learn grafting and the benefits should make it well worth this extra step.