A grafted plant known as ‘Ketchup ’n’ Fries’ produces tomatoes and potatoes. The plant, introduced last spring in England, will be available soon locally.

Share story

In the Garden

There has been an explosion of grafted vegetables the past few years, most notably tomatoes whereby the desired top-growth variety is grafted onto sturdy root stock in order to improve drought and disease tolerance, plus increase yield.

Now a clever person has figured out how to graft tomatoes onto a potato rootstock. These new dual-purpose plants will soon be available at Molbak’s, Swansons and other local nurseries around mid-April. You’ll also find them online at territorialseed.com.

The grafted tomato/potato plant known as ‘Ketchup ’n’ Fries’ was introduced in England last spring and, from all reports, was a big success. This amazing plant produces a profuse harvest of rather small, but very sweet cherry tomatoes, and the roots evidently are capable of yielding up to 4½ pounds of white potatoes described as delicious for baking, mashing or roasting.

Gardening Events

Ciscoe’s Picks

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival:

April 1 through April 30 (bloom dates according to Mother Nature). Rumor is that tulips will be early this year. Look up special events, tulip field maps and much more at

Garden Lovers’ Book Sale and Preview Party:

Preview Party is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, April 3 ($25 with hors d’oeuvres and wine. Call 206-543-0415 to register). The book sale is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 4. Many used gardening books will be available plus botanical art for sale. At Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 N.E. 41st St., Seattle.

millerlibrary.org

‘Growing Glorious Roses’ at Molbak’s:

10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Saturday, April 4. John Harmeling, ARS Master Rosarian, will cover the basics of planting, pest control and disease prevention and treatment. Free.

13625 NE 175th St., Woodinville.

molbaks.com

These grafted combination plants can be planted in the vegetable garden or in a whisky-barrel-sized container. ‘Ketchup ’n’ Fries’ should be planted in full sun and cared for as you would a tomato plant, with two exceptions. Before planting, work a cup of organic tomato food into the planting hole as you normally would, but forgo the bone meal, which would make the soil too alkaline for the potato rootstock. Also, unlike grafted tomatoes where the graft must be planted above ground, the graft of ‘Ketchup ’n’ Fries’ should be planted at least an inch deep, to allow the buried part of the tomato stems to grow roots to help support top growth.

Demand for these tomato/potato grafted plants is expected to be high, so buy one as soon as they arrive at your local nursery. You don’t want to miss out on the fun of being the first on your block to grow your ketchup and fries all from the same plant!

Now is a great time for compost

Incorporating compost into new beds or applying it as mulch is a great way to improve soil structure, increase moisture holding capacity and add beneficial microorganisms to the soil.

Just in time for spring ornamental and vegetable planting, King County Solid Waste Division is teaming up with Cedar Grove for the Fifth Annual Compost Days, offering deep discounts on Cedar Grove compost at 120 stores through April 15. It’s all part of a campaign to thank residents for composting at the curb and diverting 350,000 tons of food, food-soiled paper and yard debris from landfills in 2014.

As part of the campaign, the “Big Garden Give” invites home gardeners to help provide compost to many school-based garden programs and community gardens that grow food for low-income residents. All you have to do is download a compost coupon redeemable at any of the 120 Compost Days retailers, and for every bag you purchase, one bag of compost will be donated to provide nutrient-rich compost to help community gardens grow healthy, nutritious food for those in need.

Last year, the donated compost was provided to community gardens that collectively harvested 370,000 pounds of food, providing countless meals to low-income residents. So purchase compost at a big discount and help community gardens feed people in need. It’s a win-win. For additional information, or to download a coupon, visit compostdays.com.