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Grafted Heirloom Tomato Plant Sale

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Extension Master Gardener Volunteers of Chatham County Logografted growers company logo

The Master Gardener℠ volunteers of Chatham County, in partnership with Grafted Growers of Raleigh, NC are launching an online grafted tomato sale while supplies last. Plants are $5 each and can be picked up by appointment at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center on April 29 and April 30.

Many gardeners prefer the flavors of open-pollinated or heirloom varieties. However, often these cultivars lack the disease-resistance common in modern hybrid varieties developed with traditional breeding methods. Fungal diseases, bacterial diseases, and nematodes can make growing heirloom varieties challenging. But what if you could have the disease resistance of hybrid varieties with the flavor profiles of heirlooms? Enter grafted heirloom tomatoes!

Grafting involves joining a disease-resistant rootstock to a tasty scion, resulting in two genetically distinct individuals becoming one physiological individual.

Among the more pernicious soil-borne diseases of tomatoes is southern bacterial wilt of tomatoes. Not uncommon in our soils, there is no treatment except by planting resistant cultivated varieties (cultivars).

The varieties selected are grafted onto ‘Shin Cheong Gang’ rootstock, which is resistant to bacterial wilt, Fusarium wilt, Fusarium crown rot, Fusarium root rot, Rhizoctonia, tomato mosaic virus, and nematodes.

Scion Cultivars Available (all indeterminate):

Black Cherry – The only truly black cherry tomato. Vigorous plants yield huge clusters of one-inch round deep mahogany-brown fruits. They are delicious with sweet, rich, complex full tomato flavor. This five-foot plant produces consistently throughout the summer. Cherry tomatoes are easier to grow than larger cultivars. 

Cherokee Chocolate – North Carolina Tomatoman, Craig LeHoullier, stabilized this rogue heirloom of the Cherokee Purple in 1995. These fruits are 3-4 inches, 10-14 ounces, mahogany-colored beefsteak-type tomatoes. They have a rich, complex tomato flavor with the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. 

Cherokee Purple – A classic heirloom with full, rich flavor and texture, medium-large, flattened globe, 8-12 oz. fruits., and dusky pink color with dark shoulders.

German Johnson – A more vigorous, higher-yielding Brandywine type, recommended for higher productivity, earlier, more uniform, and slightly smaller than Brandywine. Fruits have lots of deep, acidic tomato flavor and a rich, creamy texture. This is the regular-leafed strain, With pinkish-red skin and nearly seedless meaty, mild flesh, the large, lobed fruits weigh ¾ to 1 lb.

Mortgage Lifter – This is a drought-resistant heirloom variety that produces extremely heavy yields of large low-acid pink tomatoes. Fruits usually grow between 16 and 24 ounces. These tomatoes have very few seeds and an excellent, mild flavor. Indeterminate. 83 days to maturity. Grow in full sun, height 6 feet; spacing 18-24 inches between plants, 3-5 feet between rows; spread 3-4 feet.

San Marzano  – A high-quality strain of this classic heirloom tomato, it is considered one of the best paste tomatoes of all time, with an old-world look and taste. Whole 4–6 oz. tomatoes peel easily and cook down quickly. The strain originates from Parma, Italy, and has a very traditional San Marzano shape and appearance and vibrant red color.

To Order

Please read carefully before clicking on the order form below.

Complete the order form.

  • Plants are $5 each. This project helps raise funds for horticultural education programs for adults and children.
  • Payment is due at pick-up. Bring exact change or make checks payable to Chatham County, with N.C. Cooperative Extension in the memo.
  • The order form uses Eventbrite, which allows us to cap and track the number of available plants of each cultivar. Eventbrite uses language such as ‘event’ and ‘ticket’ and ‘register’, but you are still simply pre-ordering tomato plants. Additionally, money is collected at the time of pick up, not on the Eventbrite order form.
  • Pick-up times will be scheduled by appointment on April 29 and 30. We will send an email to you with a link to sign-up for a time slot on one of those dates.
  • Plants that are not claimed will be re-sold.