Monday, May 26, 2014

Tomato Patch: Three Grafted Burpee Varieties

In this guest blog series by Bob Nixon, he explores various tomato varieties and how well they grow in the Mid-Atlantic region. Look for Tomato Patch posts every Monday for the next few months as our local tomato season gets underway.

Burpee grafted Brandywine Pink tomatoes
Last March I wrote about my purchase of three grafted tomato plants (Brandywine Pink, Mortgage Lifter, and Rutgers) from Burpee

They were expensive—more than $10 each, including shipping—but how could I resist trying the tomato fad of 2013—grafted plants with heirloom tops and disease-resistant roots that reportedly could give superior yields.

The three transplants arrived nicely and securely in a plastic clamshell package in the week I had requested for delivery.  I planted them according to directions—on pain of death, don’t plant the graft joint below soil level—and watched the three plants grow and produce.

Have I been I impressed?  Not really.

Were they each worth the better part of $11?  No. The plants grew well, but their production was ordinary or less.


'Brandywine Pink' produced only six tomatoes of medium to small size—fewer and smaller than Brandywines I’ve been growing for years from seed—but they were mouthwatering delicious as a Brandywine should be.

'Rutgers' produced a dozen or so mostly baseball-sized fruit with good flavor.  I haven’t grown any of the Rutgers varieties, so I cannot compare to past crops.

The best of the three was 'Mortgage Lifter', which yielded about 10 medium to large fruit with outstanding “true, old-time tomato flavor,” better tasting than even Brandywine Pink, at least to my tastebuds.

For me the grafts were an interesting “trial” but the results were disappointing.  I feel I could have grown equivalent fruit from seed, or even from plants bought at a local nursery, at a fraction of the cost.

Grafts again next year?  I think I’ll stick with seed packets, thank you.

If you grew grafted tomatoes this past summer—Burpee or another brand—please post a Comment about your experience.

Burpee grafted Mortgage Lifter tomatoes
About the Author
Bob Nixon is a retiree who lives at Meadow Glenn, a rural residential home near Clarksville in the piedmont region of Maryland. He loves gardening with emphasis on veggies and perennial flowers, and he is gradually reforesting parts of his home lot with native trees. And while he is gardening or mowing or just walking about, he sometimes reflect on life and what’s happening beyond Meadow Glenn at his blog:

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