Grafted tomatoes have been widely available in Australia for decades but the first true Australian variety, LeGef was created right here in South Australia.
Named after its creators Lee and Geoff Prettejohn and pronounced Lee-Geoff, the LeGef grafted Tomato was first introduced to the public in the 70's when there was no other grafted tomato available in Australia.
You can easily have all the tomatoes you can use from healthy plants by following a few simple rules, most of which are the same as for ordinary tomatoes.
LeGef grafted tomatoes have huge crops, vigorous long life, and substantial disease freedom,because they are expertly grafted to genetically resistant under-stock roots.
Anywhere ordinary tomatoes grow, LeGef grows better. They do very well outdoors and in glasshouses. Outdoors, plant in warm, sunny wind protected site with good drainage. A large trellis, a solid fence, or against the garage or house are good sites. For people in flats or units, a half wine barrel with good drainage could be used.
LeGef plants are available from late August to mid-February, and will continue through the winter months using fertiliser and regular spraying for red spider and aphids.
Turn the soil over 7 days before planting, making sure you have good drainage. Use hydrated lime and sharp sand for heavy clay soils, for light sandy soil, fork in some peat moss. Spread a handful of fertiliser per square metre over then soil and dig in.
No more than one LeGef per half metre (5 square feet) should be planted. LeGef thrives in good light, so don’t crowd them. Allow an area of 4 metres (12 feet) for each plant, as it has the ability to grow 2 metres (6 foot) high and 4 metres (12 feet) wide. Tap the LeGef out of the pot and plant with a trowel so that the graft union is clear of the soil. It is important to keep graft union and below it, clean of shoots at all times. Letting shoots grow from the graft union or below will produce very small marble size fruits from the root stock.
Right after planting,LeGef should be supported by string to a trellis or onto a stake. Flood the LeGef after planting and do not water again for about 7 days. It is better to flood LeGef every 10 -14 days than water every day. Too much water causes diseases and small fruit.
Use a fertiliser that contains a good balance of super phosphate, potash, ammonia, blood & bone and Epsom salt. This is very good for not only Tomatoes but all vegetables. Every 3 -4 weeks spread a handful of fertiliser over a square metre around the plant and water in well. Fertilisers should be evenly spread, never thick around the plant base,and watered immediately. Excessive fertiliser will slow and even kill the plant.
The plants and its extra leaders should be trained by twisting up twine to a wire, or tied to stakes, once the heads have reached 1 metre or more, you can train them horizontally or even into a pergola. Up to 25 leaders are practical for outdoors and the LeGef should have 4 stems, or more likely 10. Remove the dead leaves as they appear. Keep the graft union and are below it clean of shoots at all times.
Lightly dust your LeGef with a tomato dust every 2 weeks. It is best to spray as a precaution every month. Pests to watch out for are:
Aphids - use Garlic Spray or Confidor
Red Spider - use Natrasoap
Mildew - use Triferine