|Green Zebra Seedlings (3/22/12)|
It has been a while since I’ve had a fresh Green Zebra. Last summer, I bought one at the grocery store, hoping to remember why I loved this pretty little tomato with its yellowish green tint and characteristic zebra stripes. Since I was buying tomatoes, I also bought a gnarled looking pinkish heirloom (maybe a Brandywine, I’m not sure because they were not labeled other than being called “Heirloom Tomatoes”). I built them up to justify their prices. Yeah, I just spent close to $4 for 2 single tomatoes, but wait until we slice them! We were going to be in for a real treat!
Any true tomato lover knows how this story ends. Sadly, the Green Zebra tasted like a mealy green tennis ball. There was none of the pleasant tartness, no juicy green flesh, nothing appealing at all about it. The same went for heirloom tomato. It was a mouthful of tasteless pink goo. It’s little wonder that many people do not care for these “different” tomato varieties, since most of our experience with them comes from over priced fruit that sits in the produce section for a week or more waiting to be purchased.
Due to this experience, I really, really wanted to make sure that I had some Green Zebra tomatoes this year. I had a duty to the humble Green Zebra to help it find redemption, one 7 gallon pot at a time. Dreams of prodigious vines loaded with striped green fruit filled my mind as I surveyed the porch space I could devote to them.
There was one small problem, though: it had been a good 10 days or so, and not one Green Zebra seed had sprouted. I had Heirlooms, Yellow Pears, Sweet 100, Jellybeans, Best Boys, even a Tomatillo. But there was still no sign at all of the Zebras. With the logic of a novice, I figured that since they are a really cool kind of tomato, they must be particularly hard seeds to germinate. So I did what any impatient gardener would do: I planted the rest of the seed package just in case. I was determined to get at least a couple plants.
The next morning I brewed a cup of coffee and shuffled off to the seedling room to take a look at what was going on. What was going on was that I had about 5 Green Zebra sprouts that had used the cover of night to sprout in secrecy! A few days later, and I had at least 15 seedlings, all from the original planting.
Does this mean the second planting is doomed not to grace the urban terrace? Hardly! It just means that I now need to figure out where they will go….