Tomato grafts - You can now purchase tomatoes grafted onto more vigorous, disease resistant rootstocks.
By graft, I mean grafted tomatoes! The newest wave to hit home vegetable gardeners this spring is the availability of grafted tomato varieties. Grafting is a technique commonly used in the fruit tree and grape industry to grow a desired variety on top of a hardy, disease resistant, vigorous rootstock of another variety. For years commercial greenhouse growers in Asia have been using this same process to graft vegetables. In fact, 81% of Korean vegetables and 54% of all Japanese vegetables (95% of Japan’s watermelons, oriental melons, greenhouse cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplants) are produced on grafted plants. This technique has also caught on in Europe and, now, America.
The benefits are the same as with fruits. The rootstocks are more disease resistant, hardier, and have a more vigorous root system. The more vigorous the root system, the easier it is for the plant to take up water and nutrients, avoiding problems such as blossom end rot.
While these grafted tomatoes and other vegetables are mostly cultivated by greenhouse growers, now you, too, can try them in your garden. They're pricy, but fun to grow. So plant a grafted 'Brandywine' side by side with a seed started one and see if you notice a difference.
Here are a few sources for grafted tomatoes and a video on how to make your own grafts.