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Image of the stem of a grafted vegetable plant
The Oklahoma State University Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture is hosting a series of hands-on grafted vegetable events throughout the year to teach gardeners how to grow and care for grafted tomatoes, peppers and watermelons. (Photo by Todd Johnson, OSU Agricultural Communications Services)

Series of grafted vegetable workshops to begin in April

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Media Contact: Alisa Boswell-Gore | Agricultural Communications Services | 405-744-7115 | alisa.gore@okstate.edu

The Oklahoma State University Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture will be hosting a series of hands-on grafted vegetable events throughout the spring and summer.

“The goal is to introduce the concept of vegetable grafting and demonstrate the techniques of making grafted vegetable transplants and growing them for production,” said Bizhen Hu, assistant professor of horticulture. “Vegetable producers, professionals, gardeners and all others are welcome.”

Grafting is regarded as an emerging and must-test technology for the U.S. vegetable industry. The use of grafted vegetables in Oklahoma is at its earliest stages. Due to vegetable grafting being a new application in production, research, Extension and teaching,  programs on the subject are needed. Grafting has the potential to benefit Oklahoma vegetable growers through better biotic and abiotic management, enhancing crop vigor, lengthening harvest window, increasing total seasonal yield, improving heirloom variety performance and creating a potential source of income by preparing and supplying grafted plants.

“Vegetable grafting combines the shoot from a fruiting variety (called a scion) to the roots of a rootstock variety,” Hu said. “The rootstock varieties are bred to have better disease resistance and/or higher vigor. Therefore, by changing the roots of the scion, growers can improve the performance of the fruiting variety they want to grow.”

The following is the schedule of events for the series:

  • How to Propagate Grafted Vegetables Workshop — 1-3 p.m. April 25 at Murray State College (1003 E. 104th) in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. Register by March 1. This hands-on workshop will introduce the concept of vegetable grafting and demonstrate how to make grafted tomato, pepper and watermelon plants. This event is co-sponsored by Murray State College.
  • Grafted Vegetable Propagation and Production in Hydroponics and Aquaponics — 9-11 a.m. May 2 at the OSU Greenhouse Learning Center at the Stillwater campus. Register by March 1. This workshop will demonstrate how to make grafted tomato, pepper and watermelon plants. After the grafted vegetable propagation section, participants will tour the grafted vegetable production in hydroponics and aquaponics at the research greenhouse.
  • Grafted Watermelon and Tomato Field Production – 9-11 a.m. July 12 at Micah Anderson’s Farm (Cemetery Road NW and Edmond Road NW) in Piedmont, Oklahoma. This field tour will demonstrate grafted watermelon and grafted tomato production in the open field. This event is co-sponsored by Langston University.
  • Grafted Tomato and Watermelon Field Production – 9:30-10:30 a.m. July 18 at Don Blehm’s Farm (267260 E. 760 Rd.) in Hitchcock, Oklahoma. This field tour will demonstrate grafted tomato and watermelon production in the hoop house and open field.

All events are free to the public and require online registration. Check out other July and September grafted vegetable events online at the OSU Extension calendar. Check out Oklahoma Gardening’s segment on this series airing on March 19 as well as segments on grafted pecans.

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