Original text by Marco Barneveld, www.braindrain.nu
Imagine having a vegetable garden, but little land and space to grow everything. And imagine that you are what is called a creative thinker: very good at thinking. And that on an ordinary day, while you eat your mashed potatoes with a tomato salad on the side, you suddenly think ... what if you could grow potatoes and tomatoes in one plant? That gives you a double crop, so you could produce twice as much food on that little piece of land you own! In a cartoon, a light would now flash above your head!
So, you put on your lab coat and start digging up the corpses of dead tomatoes and potatoes. You build a gigantic machine that uses an enormous amount of electricity and you start laughing like a maniac while making your own Frankenstein vegetable.
Plant a potato plant and a
tomato plant together in the ground –
they both need young plants
are (in two pots next to each other
It may sound crazy, but it's not as unrealistic as it seems. Ok, let's leave Frankenstein aside for a moment and even genetic modification is not necessary : tomatoes and potatoes are actually related. They both belong to the nightshade family, as do bell peppers, chili peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, tamarios, pepinos, pimentos, bell peppers, and cayenne peppers.
Do it yourself...
You can buy a ready-made TomTato plant, but you can also try to graft the plant yourself. In that case, you need to buy a tomato plant and a potato plant. Cut the rootstock of the potato seedling flat and carefully split the stem vertically. Cut the shoot of the tomato plant at a sharp angle and insert it into the slit you made in the rootstock. Push the two together, making as much contact as possible, and hold the graft in place with a grafting clip. That's all!
How do you grow a TomTato?
Make an incision in a shoot of the
tomato plant and the rhizome of the
potato plant in opposite
directions; the cuts should be approx
be 2.5 cm long.
When growing a TomTato, it is best to treat the plant like a normal cherry tomato. This means: place the plants in good soil or growing media in a sunny and sheltered spot. The TomTato tomatoes grow quickly. The plantlet needs to be staked and trained to ensure a long and fruitful crop of delicious, small fruit.
The potato roots in most cases send shoots next to the grafted shoot. Allow these to develop and grow under your stemmed tomato as you would a normal potato plant, but don't make a mound near the potatoes as this will cover the graft.
If you really have little space and only have a balcony or terrace, for example, you can still grow the TomTato, because it also likes to grow in a pot. The ideal pot size is 30 to 50 liters and a good growing medium or compost is essential. You also have to water regularly and a sunny sheltered location is very important.
TomTatos in full sun
For the best result, make sure the plant grows in full sunlight. The maximum sunlight yields the greatest yield and the tastiest TomTatos. Protect the TomTato against strong or cold wind and against frost. Water the plants regularly and deeply to promote a good root structure that supports the plant in its double harvest.
The TomTato likes to grow in garden soil and thrives perfectly in fertile, free-draining soil with plenty of compost and organic matter. The pH of the soil should be between 5 and 6. Both tomatoes and potatoes need a lot of nutrition, so be sure to fertilize them when you plant them and again after about three months.
Slide the shoot and the rootstock against each other.
How do you harvest a TomTato?
TomTato plants can sometimes produce potato foliage from the base of the plants, and this can grow through the tomato foliage. You can remove this by pinching it to the ground without affecting the potato crop. However, if you let this foliage grow through the tomato leaf, you'll need to remove any potato flowers.
Replenish the compost every now and then to prevent potatoes near the surface from turning green and inedible. The tomatoes can be harvested when they ripen, usually between July and October. To help the green tomatoes ripen, harvest the red tomatoes regularly. If you grow the TomTato in a container, you can put it away frost-free in autumn for a long-lasting tomato harvest. Once the tomatoes stop producing, cut back the plants and harvest the potatoes underneath.
When you hold the two plants together with wire or tape, you can remove the top part of the potato plant and the bottom part of the tomato plant after about a week. Now you have made your own TomTato plant.
TomTato's: pure and healthy flavor bombs
Tomatoes are loaded with antioxidants, which is what gives them their red color. Cooking tomatoes releases these antioxidants and makes them easier for our bodies to absorb. They are high in vitamins C, B6 and A, plus calcium and potassium. Eating tomatoes protects your skin from the sun from the inside out. You could call them tasty health bombs!
Potatoes are also full of vitamins and minerals. They are very rich in vitamin C with good amounts of B6, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. In addition, they are high in fiber and contain more potassium than bananas.
Recipe: patatas bravas
Now that you've grown your own tomatoes and potatoes, what will you make with them? You've already tried ketchup and fries, so how about something more original? The Spaniards gave this amazing dish the name patatas bravas .
You will need the vegetables you grew from your TomTato plant, plus some garlic, hot peppers (to taste), a chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Oh, and white wine!
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Place the potatoes on a baking tray or in an oven dish, with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and plenty of salt. Place in one layer and roast for about 50 minutes until browned. While the potatoes are roasting, make the sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Fry the chopped onions and hot peppers for about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the white wine to the pan and turn the heat to high. Cook the sauce over high heat until the wine has reduced by half. Add the tomato puree and stir well. Chop the rest of the tomatoes into small pieces and add them while stirring. Lower the heat and let everything simmer gently. Let the sauce cook slowly while the potatoes roast. If you prefer, you can use a blender or an immersion blender to puree the sauce until smooth. When the potatoes are nicely browned, mix them with the tomato sauce and return them to the pan. Continue roasting until the tomato sauce on the potatoes begins to caramelize.