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Old July 24, 2016   #1
StrongPlant
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Default Potato grafting

I grow potatoes each year but every time the poato beetles destroy most of them,and they are difficult to control.Last year I saw on the internet a so-called "pomato" -a tomato grafted onto potato rootstock,which got me intrigued.Since potato beetles don't really prefer tomato plants I thought this might be a solution.I grafted a dwarf tomato on potato last winter just to make sure it's even possible,because I don't always trust online information,and when I can test a claim easily,I always do it.This is the plant,and the very first graft I made:


The plant grew incredibly fast because it was grafted on a very large potato,and was leeching carbohydrates from it.Within a couple of months,the plant eventually died and a small,new tuber was developed.This confirmed to me that it's possible.
Next,I grafted another tomato scion,this time an indeterminate F1 I crossed myself.I let the 2 main stems grow.It was planted in february,and dug out in may.
The entire plant:

The place of graft thickened and hardened,looking like a base of a small tree:

The plant developed 3 tubers,one very large and 2 small ones:


The tomato scion was prunned of all flower buds as soon as they emerged,to focus all the energy to tubers.The experiment was a success,however the grafted plants can not outperform non-grafted potatoes.The goal here is to a) Improve potato resistance to pests/diseases and b) to improve yields
Another scion was used instead tomato,Solanum nigrum,but even though the graft fused and plant grew,it was way more susceptible to disease and aphids for unkown reason,and showed poor tuber formation.I'm planning to try various other scions next season,but this time focus on the ones that already do store energy in their roots,just like potato,since they are more likely to perform better.
I already got Solanum dulcamara,and am looking at other possible Solanum species to use as scions.

If anyone is interested you can join me in this ongoing experiment,try different scions and report on your success/fail,maybe together we will revolutionize the way potatoes are grown.
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Old July 27, 2016   #2
NarnianGarden
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Wow. How was the potato taste? did you try them?
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Old July 28, 2016   #3
StrongPlant
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Wow. How was the potato taste? did you try them?
Exactly like a potato I don't think the scion can influence taste of the tubers,at least not too much.But I am cautios because I think it's not impossible,what I'm afraid most is tubers acumulating dangerous toxins like solanine in their roots due to influence of the scion.Perhaps someone that knows a bit more about plant physiology and grafting will give more insight on this.
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Old July 29, 2016   #4
NathanP
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Theoretically, according to the previous generation of science, there would be absolutely no genetic changes. Now, some are not so sure. The field of epigenetics is becoming murky, with some science showing there is gene transfer in situations like this. No idea about which genes, but it likely would be nothing dangerous.

Regarding the solanine question, potato tubers normally grow attached to plants with quite a bit of solanine, so grafting to a tomato likely is not much different. The main impact would probably be in yield of tomatoes or potatoes. Grafting like this likely reduces the potential harvest of both, since it divides the plant's energy into two areas, though even that is possibly not true.
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Old July 29, 2016   #5
StrongPlant
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The main impact would probably be in yield of tomatoes or potatoes. Grafting like this likely reduces the potential harvest of both, since it divides the plant's energy into two areas, though even that is possibly not true.
Yes,that's why I'm looking for alternative scions,and this is only a guess,but I think herbacious perennial solanum species are the best candidates because they already store energy in their roots just like potato,so for them it would't be a problem to split energy for both tubers and their fruit(which is also kinda required,because you'd need the seeds of the scion for next year's grafts).
As for tomatoes,they aren't bad "tuber pumpers" but only when not allowed to spend energy on flowers and fruit.I'm also considering other more distantly related plants within solanaceae,it might be possible.
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Old July 29, 2016   #6
NathanP
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I'll just mention this, regarding the question of fruit production impacting tuber yield, and this is not grafting related ... there was a study done at Colorado State University done one year with a potato variety. (I can't recall, but it was a Russet.) They did yield evaluation of two groups of the same variety, and measured yield from one set that they let flower and produce fruit (seed berries), and the other set they removed all the berries. This was done to see if berry production adversely affected tuber yield. There was no difference.
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Old July 30, 2016   #7
StrongPlant
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Originally Posted by NathanP View Post
I'll just mention this, regarding the question of fruit production impacting tuber yield, and this is not grafting related ... there was a study done at Colorado State University done one year with a potato variety. (I can't recall, but it was a Russet.) They did yield evaluation of two groups of the same variety, and measured yield from one set that they let flower and produce fruit (seed berries), and the other set they removed all the berries. This was done to see if berry production adversely affected tuber yield. There was no difference.
Tomatoes spend way more energy on fruit than potatoes,so there's definitely going to be a decrease in tuber yield on a "pomato" plant if you'd let both tomatoes and tubers develop.

Last edited by StrongPlant; July 30, 2016 at 01:39 PM.
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Old August 11, 2016   #8
slugworth
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I would plant it deep so you get roots from both plants.
I am going to try it with a blue potato and indigo rose tomato.
I am waiting for the potato to get some shoots on it,just bought it today.
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Old August 11, 2016   #9
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Have you tried companion planting your potatoes with beans? Colorado potato beetles hate beans and bean beetles hate potatoes. Growing them together thwarts both pests. I have tried both interplanting both in the same row and alternating rows. Both ways work. I have been planting beans with my potatoes like this when I have planted potatoes (I don't plant them every year) since 1976. I haven't had potato bugs since then.
In books on companion planting they recommend alternating rows of bush beans and potatoes. Interplanting can be a little hard on your bean production, but it does also work.
Susan
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Old August 12, 2016   #10
StrongPlant
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Have you tried companion planting your potatoes with beans? Colorado potato beetles hate beans and bean beetles hate potatoes. Growing them together thwarts both pests. I have tried both interplanting both in the same row and alternating rows. Both ways work. I have been planting beans with my potatoes like this when I have planted potatoes (I don't plant them every year) since 1976. I haven't had potato bugs since then.
In books on companion planting they recommend alternating rows of bush beans and potatoes. Interplanting can be a little hard on your bean production, but it does also work.
Susan
Sounds interesting,I haven't tried any companion planting,but if you say it worked for you it costs me nothing to try.I didn't try it because I don't see how it would work,I always thought in such plantings,the only benefit is that it's harder for the pest to locate the crop,but as soon as it finds it,it will just eat it.
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Old August 12, 2016   #11
Susan66
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More like the potato beetles hate the smell or taste of the beans so much that they avoid the whole area. I first tried this in Missouri - my second year in the Ozarks. My neighbor across the street had a whole garden of potatoes which were loaded with potato bugs. I read about the beans with potatoes thing in Organic Gardening Magazine and thought I'd try it. I only had a couple rows of potatoes, but I planted rows of bush beans between and outside the rows of potatoes, and had no Colorado Potato Beetles in sight. Meanwhile my neighbor was spraying with Sevin at least every week.
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Old August 12, 2016   #12
Susan66
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I tried the same thing this year planting eggplants in a circle around my two new catnip plants to ward off flea beetles. Got a few holes in the leaves when the plants were small, but a little later on my eggplants look great. Of course it's a little strange to have my eggplants in the flower/herb garden instead of the vegetable garden, but that's a mere quibble!
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Old August 14, 2016   #13
StrongPlant
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I tried the same thing this year planting eggplants in a circle around my two new catnip plants to ward off flea beetles. Got a few holes in the leaves when the plants were small, but a little later on my eggplants look great. Of course it's a little strange to have my eggplants in the flower/herb garden instead of the vegetable garden, but that's a mere quibble!
That's interesting,almost sounds like beans have some volatile compounds that are really toxic to beetles.Definitely trying this next season.This season I actually unintentionally planted beans right next to tomatoes,but slugs ate every single one of them as soon as they sprouted above the ground.Too bad beans don't deter slugs as well...
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Old August 14, 2016   #14
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I have interplanted beans with my potato plants and in my experience, it doesn't make much of a difference. I suspect if you only have a few potato plants, and interplant with beans, the potatoes are difficult for the CPB to find. Interplanting with other crops would likely work just as well. I have interplanted with rows of brassicas, beans, corn, sunflowers, squashes, etc. I have tried islands of each as well as rows. ... results don't seem to vary much. The CPB and others find the potatoes, and the mexican bean beetles find the beans and squashes.

I suspect that the trick is to make them difficult to find.
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