DoubleUP™ - Potato Tom™
'We are family'
Tomatoes are members of the Potato family (Solanaceae) and so are naturally compatible with potatoes. The idea of grafting a tomato onto a potato to get two vegetables from the one plant is not a new idea. It simply has never been commercialised before. Improved growing methods and better use of space has paved the way for this intriguing concept.
Tomatoes were cultivated by the Aztecs and Incas as early as 700AD. The Spanish brought back seed to Europe from their voyages in the 1500's. Outside of Spain and Italy tomatoes were only used for decorative purposes. It was not until the 1700's that it became clear that the tomato is great to eat and has become one of our favourite foods.
Indians in Peru were the first people to cultivate the potato over 400 years ago. The Spanish introduced the potato to Europeans in the 16th century. Was first introduced to Ireland in 1589 and it took 40 years to spread to the rest of Europe. Now it is the 4th largest food crop after maize, wheat and rice. They have become very important in the developing world because they are easy to grow and yield more nutrition quickly on less land than any other crop.
'Grow in a pot' - The POTATO TOM™ grows happily in a pot on the patio or terrace adding curiosity and intrigue to its other 'benefits'. Excite family and friends getting them up close and personal with this vegetable factory. The ideal pot size is 30 to 50 litres and good rich growing media or compost is essential, as is regular watering and a sunny sheltered location. Complete veggie garden in the one pot.
Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants which is associated with their red colourings. Cooking tomatoes releases the antioxidants so they are more accessible for out bodies to absorb. They are loaded with Vitamin C, B6, A, calcium and potassium. Tomatoes are cholesterol free.Potatoes are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. Very high in vitamin C with good levels of B6, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. They are high in fibre and a lot of the goodness is stored in the skin. Cooking the potato will lose the vitamin C content. Potatoes contain more potassium than bananas.
How to Eat
The range of recipes is endless with savoury dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Combine the two or cook separately. Tomatoes are also a treat straight off the vine where the sun has warmed them and they are drenched in sweetness.
One of the obvious benefits of the POTATO TOM™ is that it will provide both Cherry Tomatoes and Agria potatoes. Our experience has shown that you can expect an absolutely normal crop of Cherry tomatoes and up to 4kgs of potatoes per plant.
Commercial growers of potatoes estimate 1kg per seed potato. Actual results from our trials are 4kg per seed potato. These seed potatoes were grown in containers in high fert potting mix with no competition for space.
When growing your POTATO TOM™ you are best to treat it as you would a normal Cherry Tomato. So this means planting in good soil or growing media in a sunny well sheltered position. The Gardeners Delight is a strong growing tomato and it needs to be staked and trained to support its prolific and on going crop of delicious small fruit. The potato roots will in most cased send up shoots from alongside the grafted shoot. Let these develop and grow under your staked tomato, as you would a normal potato but don't mound the potatoes as this will cover the graft.Grow in full sun for the best results. The maximum amount of sun will give the greatest yield.
Shelter from strong and cool winds.
Protect from frosts. Water regularly and deeply to encourage good root structure to support the Double producing plant.
The POTATO TOM™ is very happy growing in garden soil and it will do best in fertile, free draining soil with plenty of compost and organic matter. The soil pH should be between 5-6.
Both tomatoes and potatoes are gross feeders. Feed with Potato Fertiliser at planting and again in 3 months later.
There is no requirement to prune but make sure your tomato is staked for support or has a supporting structure to grow against and can be tied to. To maintain a shape and structure remove the little lateral shoots as they develop. If you want to get adventurous you can espalier your Gardeners Delight tomato along a fence or a wall .This does take a lot of extra work but it will increase the size of your crop and it is fun.
Blight - common fungal disease. Spray foliage with fungicides as recommended by your local garden centre. Please follow the directions on the container. If you have bad outbreak burn plants to prevent infection of future crops.
Scab - raised corky areas on potatoes. Lowering the pH will help reduce this.
Psyllid - Little aphid-like insects which can transmit bacteria affects both potato and tomato plants. The best control for psyllids is to avoid infection in the early stages of growth. Removal of material from previous years crops of Tomatoes and Potatoes will reduce the chances of carry over from one season to the next. It is good practice to spray the plants early in the season to avoid any serious build up. Either an organic spray or a general insecticide as recommended by your local garden centre will remove both adults and the nymph stages. To avoid a build up of resistance in the insect only apply sprays when needed and alternate between different formulations. Please follow the directions on the container.
Protect from frost if you are planting early otherwise avoid frost prone areas.
As the POTATO TOM™ is such an interesting and exciting concept that very few gardeners will be familiar with it is going to be a great conversation piece. Enjoy demonstrating your skill and the wonders of this vegetable combination by planting in large pots or in the garden close to barbeque or other socialising areas. A staked plant on your patio or deck and a bit of a scratch around to show off the developing spuds will make this an interesting focus for conversation and discussion.