One of the most unusual crops I’ve trialled in recent years is the Tomtato®, which combines tomato and potato on one plant. Now, Thompson & Morgan have gone one step further in the strange veg stakes and produced the Egg & Chips™ plant with the potato hosting an aubergine, or eggplant.
The new dual-cropping variety, unveiled in the 2016 catalogue, is the result of lengthy grafting trials and should, according to the firm, produce three or four aubergines and up to 2kg of white potatoes per plant.
“For those without the luxury of an allotment or large vegetable patch it makes the most of available space in the garden,” says Michael Perry, Thompson & Morgan New Product Development Manager. “Even the smallest patio or balcony can accommodate a pot-grown Egg & Chips™ plant – pair it with a Tomtato® plant and you’ll have three easy to grow crops from just two pots.”
As well as the obvious space-saving benefits, Thompson and Morgan believe it will also make growing aubergines easier in the UK climate, as the potato’s rootstock is stronger and more vigorous and the plants will not need a greenhouse.
Huge secrecy surrounded the development; the firm even moved its annual summer press day off-site to keep final crop trials under wraps.
“It’s been hard keeping quiet about this amazing plant,” adds Michael. “I’ve had to bite my tongue for the past year! Egg & Chips™ is a real innovation. For seasoned veg growers this is a really novel development.”
• Orders are now being taken for mail order with dispatch from April onwards. With limited first year stock, Thompson & Morgan recommend ordering early. One 9cm potted plant is £14.99 or two are £19.99. Visit www.thompson-morgan.com/eggandchips or call 0844 573 1818.