Tomatoes and potato plants as separate crops? Pfft, that’s old news! The humble peasants of the past that farmed these green lands would no doubt be amazed at how far things have come since those days. They may even have thought that the newly launched ‘TomTato’ plant verged on black magic, amazingly we can do this at home with a sharp knife or secateurs with wire and a wrap, given that it gives you the best of both worlds by combining the fruit and vegetable types together, this takes creative gardening to a whole new level.
Above ground the ‘TomTato’ plant looks like your normal every day cherry tomato plant, but dig deeper(with a decent fork) and you may be surprised to uncover some potatoes hiding in the dirt. Given the amount of crop growth, fertiliser and soil quality is vitally important. This strange ‘mutant plant’ not to be confused with fascination, isn’t a product of genetic engineering though, it’s produced through a grafting process that takes advantage of Tomatoes and Potatoes being members of the nightshade family – thus being compatible! The result gives you over 500 cherry tomatoes and a decent sized crop of potatoes – ready for turning into chips! More surprising still, this plant grows in a plant pot or, trough, better yet a self watering trough. Combined with decent compost you’ve a remarkably frugal and efficient garden technique.
Plant and seed sellers Thompson & Morgan have developed the plant, calling it a “world exclusive”. However, it’s worth nothing that it’s not the first time this has been attempted, although Thompson & Morgan say that their technique is different – having taken 10 years to perfect – and the result is tastier. There is a way to do it yourself, although you won’t get the same results as you would if you bought one of these new plants. It’s quite a skilled process, as the Telegraph explains;
Mr Hansord said it was “very difficult to achieve the TomTato because the tomato stem and the potato stem have to be the same thickness for the graft to work – it is a very highly-skilled operation.
“They start off joined together by a plastic clip, then the clip pops off as they grow and they’re transferred into a 9cm pot and grow normally.”
Speaking of buying, at £14.99 each the plants aren’t exactly cheap, especially as they only last for one season. Despite the price, these types of plants may be the future; especially in countries that have high populations but a lack of space(urban areas) in which to grow separate crops. We just have to be hopeful that they retain the same – or better – quality.
What two types of food would you like to see combined? Pretty soon we’ll be growing carrots on the backs of chickens! Well, that’s a little over the top but here’s an article on rearing chickens instead.