TomTato, the hybrid tomato-potato plant

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Potatoes and tomatoes are a combination regularly used in the kitchen. But have you ever thought of growing both species on the same plant?

A few days ago, a horticultural company unveiled its new two-in-one plant: the TomTato. Imagine if you could grow your own fries and ketchup at the same time? The Thompson & Morgan company proudly announced a new breakthrough in the world of agriculture.
They have just introduced their TomTato, a plant that produces about 500 sweet cherry tomatoes above ground and potatoes underground.

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Natural, nothing but natural

According to the company, TomTato is a completely natural plant variety that has not been genetically modified. Each plant is actually the result of a cross between a tomato plant graft and a potato plant graft.
This is a very difficult operation that requires above all a delicate touch and identical grafts. "At the beginning, we connect the two grafts with a plastic clip. This clip falls off by itself when the graft takes. The plant is then transferred to a 9 cm pot to grow normally," says Paul Hansord, horticultural manager at Thompson & Morgan. As a result, the plant would grow outside as well as inside, as long as it has enough room to flourish.

Long-term development

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Paul Hansord explains that the idea for a hybrid plant came to him about 15 years ago. At the time, in the United States, a gardener had as a joke, planted potatoes under tomatoes. "I wondered if it was really feasible. And the idea came up four or five years ago on a trip to Italy. I met a company that specializes in plant grafting. And it was in the Netherlands that I found the company that agreed to help me," he says.

For three years, Paul Hansord and his partners worked to develop the TomTato. Today, they claim to be able to produce at least 34,000 plants a year. "It was a very long job because the tomato and potato stalks have to be exactly the same thickness for the graft to set, which is very complex," he told The Telegraph. Nevertheless, the result is paying off, as this type of "double plant" could be very useful in the future.

They allow more food to grow in a smaller space. And tomatoes, like potatoes, are of course completely edible, the company says in the video presentation above. They can even be steamed, fried or pan-fried.

Other tomato-potato plants

A few years ago, a Kenyan prison developed the same kind of tomato-potato plant. According to a prison official, "this plant has allowed local farmers to save space and time without affecting the quality of their produce. In fact, the tomato/potato combination has been tested for years, but this is the first time it has been produced in the UK. According to its creators, the TomTato is already available for £14.99 (17 euros) per plant, but it will only last for one season, they said. The same type of plant, called Potato Tom but created by another horticultural company, will be sold in New Zealand from October.

(Source © Gentside Discoveries)

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