|Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)|
|Plant height||9 feet|
|Fruit Weight||6 oz|
|Color||Bicolor: Green with yellow stripes|
Green Zebra is a tomato cultivar with characteristic dark green and yellow stripes. Newer variations blush reddish instead of yellow when ripe. It is more tart (described as 'spicy' and 'zingy') than regular tomatoes, and it is an early cultivar. Compared to other tomato varieties, it can produce somewhat mealy fruits depending on growing conditions.
Green Zebra was bred by Tom Wagner of Everett, Washington, and introduced in his Tater-Mater Seed Catalog in 1983. He first came up with the idea in the 1950’s. Commonly, a green tomato meant it wasn’t ripe and they were normally thrown out. However, he was intrigued by the idea of a green tomato that was ready to eat.
There is some controversy as to whether Green Zebra should be considered an heirloom tomato. Some people don't consider it an heirloom quite yet, while others consider it either an heirloom, "modern heirloom" or "created heirloom'.
Classification of Tomatoes
Common varieties include: Green Zebra, Black Zebra, Big Zebra, Red Zebra.
The Green Zebra tomato does not often obtain a disease, however, if the tomato has a disease the Green Zebra will not turn yellow, the plant will stay green until it wilts. The Green Zebra has a higher defense rate against diseases compared to other tomatoes. To grow this tomato one must plant seed 1-2 weeks after the temperature remains constant around 60 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The soil should be well drained and the seed must remain 1/8” deep within the ground under full sunlight. Plant the seed 12” – 36” apart and let harvest for 65 – 80 days. This plant is semi-annual and it is best to harvest in midsummer. One should transplant when plant is 6” high.
How to tell if it is ripe
With the original color of this tomato being green it can make it difficult to tell when it is ripe. With Green Zebra tomatoes there are three main ways to decipher when it is ready to eat. First, one can grasp the tomato gently to feel for firmness. Secondly, one can tell by looking at when the Zebra’s light green stripes turn to yellow. Thirdly, one can look at when the bottom of the yellow stripes begin to turn a blush color. Each of these stages represent a different ripening stage, so one must decide which stage of ripeness they prefer. Additionally, for a sweeter tomato leave it on the vine for a longer period of time. However, leaving it on the vine for too long can cause it to become mealy.
- O'Neill, Molly (June 3, 1998). "What's Green And Has Stripes? A Zebra Tomato". New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
- "Green Zebra Tomato". Golden Harvest Organics. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
- "Green Zebra Tomato". Tomato Dirt. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
- Borrell, Brendan. "How to Grow a Better Tomato: The Case against Heirloom heirloom.Tomatoes". Scientific America. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- Ibsen, Gary. "What Is An Heirloom Tomato?". Tomatofest. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- Torgrimson, John. "GENEWATCH THE LIVING LEGACY". Council for responsible genetics. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
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