I’m not sure where to start with this kind of plant so let me simply give you the data I have.
First – a rather large plant company sent me 3 plants to trial so I did not purchase these plants.
Second – these are grafted tomato plants. A tomato of one kind (I have not been able to find which one) is the root and second named-variety tomato is grafted onto that stem so the fruit you harvest will be from the second plant.
Third: There’s a ton of publicity out there on them, the marketers are going crazy with this and some of my fellow garden writers have been writing about them breathlessly for the last few garden seasons.
I read several reviews claiming these were the best thing since sliced bread or whatever – not able to get blossom end rot, not any kind of blight hits them, the graft makes them earliest in the garden etc etc and they have the best flavor of any tomato. A lot of superlatives have been used in the same sentence with these plants.
More on why I’m going to have trouble below:
The Tomato Varieties I’m Growing
I have been sent Mighty-Mato Tomatoes: ‘two heirloom varieties Stupice’ and ‘Beaverlodge Slicer’ and one hybrid, the older ‘Early Girl’
‘Stupice’ is a 52 day, potato-leaf variety originally from Czechoslovakia, with golf-ball sized fruit. Apparently a very good tasting tomato and cold tolerant. An indeterminate variety.
‘Beaverlodge Slicer’ was bred at the Beaverlodge Research Center in Alberta Canada. This is another early tomato at 55 days. A determinate plant, 2-inch tomato with reported good flavor. This presents a bit of a challenge because the accompanying literature suggests staking this plant – and that’s not a great way to grow a determinate variety (assuming my resource about its growth habit is correct)
‘Early Girl’ is an indeterminate plant, 55-days (give or take a few) with 4-6 ounce fruit the size of tennis balls. An older variety sometimes grown for early fruit but generally once the main run of tomatoes comes along, further harvests of these are preserved because the larger fruit tend to have better taste.
So I seem to have been sent early varieties.
The Plant Review Tests and Why I’m Struggling
To begin with, I can’t test for earliness. Each of these Mighty-Mato Tomatoes is rated earlier than anything else in my garden so it would only be surprising if they don’t produce earlier fruit.
Second, I don’t have any plants of these varieties to test them against for growth habit, early fruiting etc. In other words before I can tell you a grafted variety grows better than a seed produced variety I have to have at least one seed produced plant and better yet, several of each on trial. Having one grafted variety isn’t a speed or harvest trial.
And those who I have read have written about how early, how large and productive they are because they are grafted haven’t done a side-by-side with grafted versus seed-generated either as far as I can read although there is one site with reader reviews where they had grown them side by side with mixed reports.
In fact, I’m having a hard time trying give the plants a test that will prove to us that having a grafted plant is really worth the extra cost (and the pricing I’m seeing for these is really hard for me to justify at this time.)
What I will test for is general growing ability and general taste as I do for all the tomatoes that go into my trials. Much of that is subjective but that’s why they pay me the “big bucks”. 🙂
Notes on Plants
It has been an interesting year for tomato growing. July was stinking hot and dry with Southern heat and humidity while August has been more normal, definitely cooler with more rain. But by mid-August, we’re irrigating our garden.
August 12. ‘Stuppice’ was the first “regular” tomato to ripen and be harvested in our garden. It was only beaten by a day or two an early heirloom cherry tomato of Mayo’s. The fruit is indeed small (a golf ball) but is decent tasting. Given the size of the fruit, and what is developing (about the same number of trusses as our other non-grafted plants, I’d say the harvest may be a few days earlier but clearly not as heavy as the seed-grown plants.
August 29: We have small harvests from all three plants but frankly, we are in full swing with the bigger fruited heirloom varieties such as ‘Mong’, ‘Mayo’s Delight’ and mid-sized fruit such as ‘Black Krim’ When ‘Mong’ and ‘Mayo’s Delight’ started ripening (about a week after the early grafted ones) the grafted plants were immediately sent to the canning tomato baskets. They are simply no taste match for these bigger tomatoes.
I see no reason to spend this kind of money on these tomatoes.
Now, perhaps it was a bad year for them. Perhaps we didn’t given them a fair trial in some way and as I said above, there’s no way it was a trial of the grafted plant versus the non-grafted variety to test the graft.
All we tested for was earliness and some rough taste test. But still, I wouldn’t buy them.