Organic Tomato: Black Zebra. Solanum lycopersicum.
Juicy tomatoes with longitudinal stripes of green that resemble that of a zebra! A cross between a black tomato variety and Green Zebra variety it is sweet and delicious variety with the full flavour of black tomatoes. A unique and attractive variety, they are a joy to grow as they change colour and ripen. Vigorous plants that can produce an abundance of 1 to 1.5 oz. (28 – 42g) of tomatoes up to 6cm in diameter. This is a vine type.
How to grow:
Sow seeds in pots on 18-21C heat as early as February. If you’ve no specially made heat bench you can put the pots (or seed tray) in a warm place in the house from April and keep regularly watered. A tray underneath the pots/tray means you can water from underneath and just keep it topped up. If the compost dries up it’s really bad for your seeds and or seedlings. Avoid harsh sunlight and intense heat while the seedlings are emerging and the plants are young.
Grow on till they’re about 8cms tall and plant in the ground or grow bags, in the greenhouse/polytunnel, in a sunny location. Some tomatoes boast they can be grown outside, this far north this variety is best grown inside.
Tomatoes ripen best at temperatures between 20C and 30C.
You need to keep on feeding them especially while they’re producing fruit, do this from below at least once a week.
For vine types: Best to put the plant support in whilst planting out, stakes/growing trestles/string etc., so they can climb up as they grow. Nip out the side shoots, in Holland these are called “thieves”, as they steal the goodness from the trusses you’ve selected to make leaves and new shoots.
For bush types: Bush types don’t need so much support as trailing types, but it can be useful if you’ve a good crop. Leave the side shoots in. Pots can be moved outside if they get too warm.
Tomatoes get blight as they’re in the same family as the potato, this will kill the plant and isn’t good for the fruit. Keep an eye on lower leaves, especially as the plants mature, remove discoloured leaves and dispose of – not in your compost. If you can rotate year on year or change the soil this will help, as will keeping a good general air-flow.
Keep well watered because if the roots dry out the fruit can get “blossom end rot”, where the base of the tomato starts to rot and this spreads across the whole tomato. If you see it, just nip out that fruit and rethink your watering strategy. It’s not a disease that spreads.
The usual greenhouse pests can be controlled in the usual way, aphids, red spider mite etc., just be watchful for them as they spread viruses quickly.
Favourite ways to eat them:
This is a great salad tomato as its attractive skin will add flair to raw dishes. Also delicious cooked into a tomato sauce where it will add its complex black tomato flavour.
Originating from western south America and central America, the name itself originates from the Aztec word tomati. The Spanish brought it to Europe in the 16th century and the rest as they say, is history.
Contents: 15 seeds.
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