6HWbNHN-show-poster2x3-c7tgE2Y.png

Artbound

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
HvlSxHY-show-poster2x3-4ik43uV.png

Earth Focus

Start watching
5LQmQJY-show-poster2x3-MRWBpAK.jpg

Reporter Roundup

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Grafting Gone Wild: Grow Your Ketchup and Fries on the Same Plant

Support Provided By

Yes, this actually exists, and yes, it's even called Ketchup 'n Fries. A new variety — and the first of its kind to hit the U.S. market — allows you to grow both a fruit and a tuber on a single plant.

Ketchup 'n Fries is exactly what it sounds like: cherry tomatoes above ground, and white potatoes below ground. While it sounds like some bizarre science experiment, the plant is just an ordinary graft and not a product of genetic modification.

Grafting is common in horticulture; the ancient technique involves taking two or more plants from the same family and fusing them together. Most people are familiar with grafted fruit trees, where a single tree may bear several types of apples or stone fruits on the same rootstock. But grafting isn't just for novelty; plants can be grafted to produce higher yields or greater disease resistance, as is often the case with fruits and roses.

Though tomatoes and potatoes sound far removed in the vegetable world, they both belong to the nightshade family, making them compatible candidates for grafting. In vegetable (or soft tissue) grafting, two separate seedlings with stems of the same size and shape are cut in half. The cut on one seedling is then matched to the cut on the other, fused with a tiny clip, and taken to a greenhouse where the seedlings continue to grow into one plant.

Finding the right combination of seedlings is tricky business, especially with a tomato/potato twofer that matures at different rates. The seemingly unlikely duo was first discovered in the early 1900s, when botanist Luther Burbank successfully grafted a potato top onto a tomato root. Though the plant was viable, it produced no fruits or tubers. Since then, countless gardeners have attempted to graft the two vegetables with varying degrees of success.

Thomas & Morgan, the UK plant company behind Ketchup 'n Fries, spent fifteen years developing an early tomato and late-producing potato combo that could be harvested throughout the season. The grafted variety is said to produce over 500 red cherry tomatoes and 4 to 5 pounds of potatoes.

It was released as the TomTato in the UK last year, and has been licensed to SuperNaturals Grafted Vegetables, LLC, for introduction to the U.S. market as Ketchup 'n Fries.

The plant will be available at garden centers across the country this spring, as well as from Territorial Seed Company and GardenAmerica.

Support Provided By
Read More
Oysters on the grill at the Manila District in downtown Los Angeles.

Filipino-Led Micro-Businesses Blossom in the Pandemic at L.A.'s Manila District

With the coronavirus lockdown. the momentum of the Filipino food movement came to a screeching halt. Lauren Delgado and Rayson Esquejo felt they needed to do something. But they weren't sure how, at first.
Close-up view of cherry blossoms in Little Tokyo.

Where to Find the Most Beautiful Blooming Trees in the L.A. Area

While L.A. may be more closely associated with palm trees lining its sidewalks and streets, this sprawling city and its surrounding municipalities is actually a horticultural delight of varied treescapes. Here are seven spots to get a glimpse of great blossoms.
A cup of ginjo sake paired with Tsubaki's kanpachi sashimi

Sake 101 Taught by Courtney Kaplan of Tsubaki and Ototo

Sake has existed for thousands of years. To help introduce and better understand this storied beverage, we turn to Courtney Kaplan, sommelier, sake aficionado and co-owner of restaurants Tsubaki and Ototo in Los Angeles.