Online Training Module for Grafting Vegetable Transplants

Grafting vegetable crops onto resistant rootstock is an effective organic and sustainable strategy to manage soil-borne diseases such as Verticillium wilt, which is a common disease throughout Washington. Grafting has been used successfully in Asia for nearly 100 years, but is only now being adopted in the U.S. Based on work done in our CSANR Projects 76 and 106, we have developed extension publications outlining effective grafting techniques for tomato and watermelon as well as how to construct a healing chamber ( ). In our CSANR Project 106 we also hosted several vegetable grafting workshops and have developed an effective teaching format to convey the key steps for successful vegetable grafting.

In this new project we propose to further refine our watermelon grafting technique so that grafting success is 90% or greater, and we will create a 30-minute on-line Adobe Presenter training module to demonstrate how to successfully produce grafted tomato and watermelon transplants. To improve our watermelon grafting technique we propose to accept an invitation to visit a large commercial cucurbit grafting facility in California to collect new information. For the new proposed vegetable grafting training module, we will use our new cider training module (CSANR Project 96) as the template, and the module will be targeted to the vegetable transplant industry, vegetable growers, and Master Gardeners. Further, we will create a data base of still photos, video and audio recordings that can be used for future on-line training modules, seminars, and lectures.


Grant Information

  • Project ID: 128
  • Project Status: Complete




We have translated two Extension publications into Spanish, one focuses on tomato and eggplant and the other one focuses on watermelon; both have been published by WSU and are posted on our website

Additional Funds Leveraged

  • WSU Emerging Research Issues grant for research to evaluate new potential watermelon rootstocks with resistance/tolerance Verticillium dahliae and to conduct field trials in 2014 ($49,938 for 2013; $29,996 for 2014). Funds support an MS graduate student, Jesse Wimer.
  • WSDA SCRI State Block Grant, Grafting watermelon: A new sustainable practice for managing soilborne disease and a new value-added enterprise for Washington, 2014-2016, $143,365. Funds will support a new graduate student.
  • PhD graduate student funded by the Libyan–‐North American Scholarship Program, Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), will be investigating grafted tomato production in high tunnels, $61,165 per year for 4 years, total value 4244,660.
  • Submitted NIFA SCRI grant (NCSU lead) Development of Grafting Technology to Improve Sustainability and Competitiveness of the U.S. Fruiting Vegetable Industry, 2014-2016, $170,781.


Short‐Term: In Washington, 42 people received hands-on training in vegetable grafting, and an additional 425 people learned about vegetable grafting from oral presentations. We anticipate that our new on‐line narrated presentation will be viewed at least 100 times annually. Participants will become aware of vegetable grafting as a method to control soil borne disease (e.g. V. dahliae) in vegetable crops, will understand the timing to coordinate seeding of rootstock and scion varieties, and the construction and operation of a healing chamber. We are providing grafting technical assistance to
Northwest Transplants, the primary supplier of watermelon transplants for the Columbia Basin. Their managers attended one of our hands‐on trainings, and they intend to test market grafted watermelon in the Columbia Basin in 2014.

Intermediate‐Term: Increased education provided through on‐line presentations for vegetable grafting will strengthen the ability of both home and commercial growers to master techniques of vegetable grafting and develop a greater understanding of the reasons behind its use. On‐line presentations will be a resource that will help viewers to carry out a successful vegetable grafting program in their operations, including commercial vegetable farms, demonstration gardens, community gardens, home gardens, and high school science projects.

Long‐Term: Use of grafting techniques for control of soil borne disease of eggplant and watermelon will become an established pest management practice throughout Washington and will replace soil fumigation as the primary control strategy for soil borne disease. Vegetable grafting will be utilized by commercial agricultural professionals and by the general clientele of gardeners at the school, community, and home level.