A plant which produces both potatoes and tomatoes, described as a “veg plot in a pot”, has been launched in the UK.
The TomTato can grow more than 500 sweet cherry tomatoes while producing white potatoes.
Horticultural mail order company Thompson & Morgan, which is selling the plants for £14.99 each, said the hybrid plants were individually hand-crafted and not a product of genetic engineering.
Grafted potato-tomato plants have already been produced in the UK, but Thompson & Morgan says this is the first time they have been successfully produced commercially.
The company says the tomatoes are far sweeter than those available in supermarkets.
Paul Hansord, horticultural director at the company, said he first had the idea for the plant 15 years ago in the US, when he visited a garden where someone had planted a potato under a tomato as a joke.
He said: "The TomTato has been trialled for several years and the end result is far superior than anything I could have hoped for, trusses full of tomatoes which have a flavour that makes shop tomatoes inedible, as well as, a good hearty crop of potatoes for late in the season.
"It has been 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.
"We have seen similar products, however on closer inspection the potato is planted in a pot with a tomato planted in the same pot - our plant is one plant and produces no potato foliage."
The plants can be grown either outside or inside, as long as they are in a large pot or bag.
A similar product, dubbed the "Potato Tom", was launched in garden centres in New Zealand this week.
I suppose it might be possible to graft on an eggplant or some black nightshade as well, since they're in the same family. Plums apricots and peaches can be grafted and you get space savings, longer harvest season and novelty in a perennial. Seems like a lot of bother for an annual plant that's essentially a novelty.
Imagine the possibilities with members of the cabbage family grafted onto a Brussels sprout stem.
Ouch. At those prices, I seriously doubt that they will be big sellers.
Perhaps some novelty gardeners with more money than sense.
I don't expect to see a lot of permaculturists investing either time/money for this.
I think if I were to experiment with grafting nightshades, I would want to be very very sure that some of the nasty chemicals in either the root stock or scion didnt trans locate to the other. I am not sure how common it is for it to happen, but have heard enough hearsay about it to wonder.
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