Fun With Franken-Gardening: New 'Ketchup 'N' Fries' Grows Tomatoes And Potatoes On Same Plant: NPR Reports

Published online: Nov 28, 2022 Articles Susan Langenhennig, nola.com
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Ketchup 'n' Fries by TomTato is being licensed for U.S. markets by SuperNaturals Grafted Vegetables.

Tomatoes and potatoes are related, both in the nightshade family. But they're not usually found on the same plant.

Now a British company, Thomas & Morgan, has been having some fun and developed "Ketchup 'n' Fries," a plant that grows both tomatoes and potatoes.

NPR's food blog, The Salt, reports that grafting, not genetic modification, is the key to this Morgus-like bit of horticulture. The top of a cherry tomato was grafted on to a white potato, Sasa Woodruff of NPR writes.

"It's like a science project," Alice Doyle of SuperNaturals Grafted Vegetables,  the company licensing the plant in the U.S., told Woodruff. "It's something that is really bizarre, but it's going to be fun [for gardeners] to measure and see how it grows."

Woodruff writes: "Grafting, the technique of taking two different plants in the same family and fusing them together, has been around since ancient times. Today, fruit trees, grape vines and roses are still grafted onto well-established rootstocks. (A New York artist is even attempting to graft branches from 40 different kinds of stone fruit onto a single tree, as The Salt reported in August.)"

Read the NPR story here.

In Louisiana, most of the citrus fruit grown by home gardeners is on grafted trees. As gardening guru and NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune columnist Dan Gill has written: "A desirable citrus variety, such as Owari satsuma or Washington navel orange, is grafted onto a rootstock that is a different type of citrus. Trifoliata orange often is used as the rootstock. ...The purpose of the rootstock is to provide a strong, vigorous root system that will produce a robust growing, productive tree."

The tomato/potato combo plant apparently isn't new. "In the early 1900s," Woodruff writes, "botanist Luther Burbank successfully grafted a potato top onto a tomato root, creating a viable plant -- except that it was, shall we say, fruitless."