Introduction: Growing a Pomato (or Tomtato)

Picture of Growing a Pomato (or Tomtato)

According to Wikipedia: "The pomato (or tomtato) is a chimera produced by grafting a tomato plant and a potato plant... Cherry tomatoes grow on the vine, while white potatoes grow in the soil from the same plant."

Now that you know WHAT we are growing, I bet you want to know WHY on earth would somebody grow such an abomination? Well there are some obvious reasons:

  • You save a lot of space, you can grow two crops in the space of one, I grew them in buckets in my balcony garden.
  • You save a lot of water, you only have to water a single plant, not two.
  • You save a lot of time and energy, you only have to care for one plant, not for two.

And there might be some reasons that are not so obvious, we'll talk about it a bit later, anyway start by planting a tomato and a potato, then:

Step 1: From Plants to Plant

Picture of From Plants to Plant

Once your plants' stems reach the diameter of around 1cm or 0.4 inches take a sharp and sterile blade and cut off the top of both plants (or you can use a tomato sucker), it's best to make a V shaped cut at the same angle on both plants. Toss away the top of the potato plant then place the tomato top in the V shaped cut you just made, push it in a bit then tape it in place with grafting or surgical tape (make it tight), and that's about it for now.

Some tips for success:

  • It's best to do it early in the season when the plants' stems are still soft, later they'll start to lignify.
  • Make sure you got everything at hand when you start, you won't have time to run to the store for medical tape.
  • Make a V shaped cut to maximize contact area and increase the chances of a successful graft.
  • Do not despair, the tomato part will wilt and look awful for awhile (even 2 weeks), just don't mess with it, it needs time.
  • After the "surgery" place the pant in a shaded area and occasionally mist with water, you need to keep the tomato part alive until the graft completes, this can take 2 weeks.
  • You also need to shelter your plant from high winds, you don't want the stems to move while the bond is incomplete.
  • Potato shoots will keep popping up, just cut them back at ground level or they'll soon take over.

In about 10-14 days if the graft was successful you'll see new growth on the tomato plant (small, light green leaves), leave the tape on for a few more days then carefully remove it. Congratulations you created your first F̶r̶a̶n̶k̶e̶n̶s̶t̶e̶i̶n Pomato.

There is no special treatment required for pomatoes, as I know of, just water and feed regularly like you would with any other plant, I gave them the same amount and frequency of water as I did my tomatoes and they grew to maturity and put out fruits without any problems.

Step 2: The Harvest and Final Conclusions

Picture of The Harvest and Final Conclusions

Unfortunately my growing season was cut short by the weather, there were a few nights with below freezing temperatures in the forecast so I decided to harvest the pomatoes (also I was eager to find out what's below ground), so: the final count was 58 tomatoes (not all of them ripened) and 9 usable potatoes, not much, but 58 tomatoes more than you usually get from a potato plant and 9 potatoes more than you usually get from a tomato plant.

The bottom line

The pros of growing a pomato:

  • Two crops in the space of one.
  • Less watering
  • Less work throughout the season
  • Same taste as normal tomatoes and potatoes
  • Your friends will think you are a gardening God

The cons of growing a pomato:

  • You loose approx. 2 weeks of the season (until the graft takes)
  • Fruits and tubers are slightly smaller than average
  • More work at the start of the season as the plants need special care until the graft takes
  • Not all grafts are successful
  • Your friends will think you are a gardening God and bug you with all sorts of gardening questions

All in all, it was a fun thing to try, and if you have the means, I sure do recommend you try it too, maybe with other tomato and potato varieties, you never know...

Thank you for reading, have a nice one!

You may copy this instructable as long as you link back to my blog (http://stvn.eu) or original article (http://stvn.eu/growing-a-pomato-or-tomtato/).

Comments

drstew69 (author)2017-12-09

I've seen these for sale and wanted to try grafting for fruit trees. Can you recommend what type of tape is best to use or if that is not critical to success? The pictures are of great help.

stvnishere (author)drstew692017-12-09

For this experiment I used surgical tape, just because I has some laying around, but if you want to maximize your chances of success, as a beginner, maybe you should invest in proper grafting tape (plus tools/materials), there are not that expensive after all.

drstew69 (author)stvnishere2017-12-10

Thank you. I have access to both surgical tape and the supplies you are discussing. I'll probably invest in some grafting tools and maybe even a book on the topic. Come this year I will attempt your grafting project and can provide data I collect. One thing in Pennsylvania where I currently live is I have found vermicu-compost (worm compost) to very much improve the soil. You might look into it.

lzang46 (author)2017-04-23

Great idea for use in a condo place where "thou shalt not benefit from the open spaces" seems to be the primary rule!

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2016-10-12

That's cool. I didn't know that you could graft tomatoes and potatos.

In 1970 The school of agriculture at Damanhour, Egypt grafted mango to watermellom and guava to watermellon. I said then: " Since when you graft a tree into a weed"?

My favorites are the multi-graft trees. I saw one once that was a single tree with 4 different kinds of fruit growing on it.

I dont even manage to graft one apple to another :-).
Apparently it is possible to graft pears onto apples

john12692 (author)2016-10-12

I am wondering since potatoes are from the nightshade family if that means the tomatoes become toxic like the green parts of the potato plant. It would be a low level toxicity but still something to keep in mind.

stvnishere (author)john126922016-10-12

The tomatoes are from the nightshade family too, that's why the graft is possible, the tomato part will always be tomato and the potato part will always be potato.

diy_bloke (author)stvnishere2016-11-05

indeed, the tomato will not suddenly become toxic, just as the potato is safe to eat

diy_bloke (author)2016-11-05

You made one yourself? great. They are commercially available but i never thought of making one myself. Will do that

HollyMann (author)2016-10-20

Awesome! I always wanted to do this!

hien408 (author)2016-10-13

Wow. You got my vote.

dan3008 (author)2016-10-13

Important thing to remember. DONT eat the tomato like berries off a normal potatoe, or any bulbus roots on a normal tomato... They are toxic, only a graft like this will produce both that are safe to eat

XochitlA2 (author)2016-10-12

Very interesting! I'm going to try it!

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