Thursday, 27 March 2014

Zahl Tomatoes

Bred by Tom Wagner, I bought this variety a few years ago, here's the description from the site  "Zahl: This is my attempt to resurrect the German tomato that has been in my immediate family since 1888 in this country and who knows how long in Graben Neudorf, Germany.  This is a large version of the German tomato…that is all they called it, and measures about 5 inches in diameter with many small locules.  It is Pink and is fasciated as the old strain was.  When I was a kid I couldn’t leave anything uncrossed, and I cross the German tomato with a Beefsteak tomato and stabilized that cross through several selfings and called it Der Beefsteak. About twenty years ago I crossed Der Beefsteak with Count II, a variety that may be obsolete.  Zahl needs a home." Tom Wagner, New World seeds.

Well, I've been growing 'Zahl' the last few years and I'm afraid I'm not making a very good foster mum! I was hoping to keep selecting to stay close to Tom's description, the tomatoes I've grown have indeed been fasciated, often producing somewhat ugly looking ripe tomatoes, luckily the taste has been super. However the plants I've grown have remained very short growing and some are perhaps semi- determinate, fruit is red and size for me has been smaller than 5'' diameter with very few if any seeds. The plants have jointless pedicle.

Zahl has a jointless Pedicle, no knuckle joint attaching
fruit to stem.
I started 3 plants last season 2 were fairly similar to each other and look much like these shown below

Then from the third plant, these beauties

Quite different from the other two plants and totally different from any other tomato I grew last season.
So the question is are they from the packet of Zahl? Or a mix up my end? I don't think any way to know for certain, certainly one to grow again as they are a good tasting tomato and very pretty to look at.

I have one possibly two seeds left to sow from Tom's original seed he sent, which I'm planning on starting in the propagator this week. Alongside them I'll sow the seeds I have saved from Zahl in 2011 and 2013. Hoping for good things this year!

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