Re: [tomato] Some English varieties

Margaret Lauterbach (
Sun, 18 Oct 1998 07:24:48 -0600

At 09:24 PM 10/17/98 -0500, you wrote:
>Many thanks to those who responded with suggestions for my
>garden next year.  The joy of growing so many types of tomatoes is
>that depending upon where we live (I'm zone 4) and our own personal
>tastes we can have such different results with thesame varieties.  
>Isn't that what makes gardening so great.  
>I do have a few questions which I'm hoping some of you can help
>with.  Recently we got some tomato seeds from my brother-in-law 
>in England (we lived there before re-locating to WI two years ago). 
>When we were in England we were avid tomato growers although 
>quite restricted to growing under glass (i.e. greenhouse).  WI is 
>wonderful because although it is much colder in winter, the summers
>are superb for tomatoes!!!!!
>I am not familiar with any of these varieties from England.  Some are
>hybrid and some not.  Have any of you folks had experience with these??
>1) Alisa Craig - Supposedly an old variety.  We've grown Alisa Criag 
>onions but never tomatoes.  These look to be red with green shoulders.

It's AILSA Craig, not Alisa Craig.  I haven't grown this variety, but Seed
Savers say it's small to medium, thin skin, outstanding flavor, above
average yield, adaptable to drought and heat.  
>2) Tigerella - Supposedly a golf ball sized striped fruit (red with yellow?).

This is a productive, pretty, and good-tasting tomato, your description is
>3) San Marzano - look to be a roma type.  Claims to be for bottling (i.e.
>thats English for canning).

It's a Roma-sized paste tomato.  People who use these have more tolerance
for standing in the kitchen than I.  I prefer much larger paste tomatoes
because that shortens the standing time.
>4) Hybrid Sungold- looks to be a yellow cherry tomato. Claims to be the
>sweetest tastiest tomato ever- (I'm afraid I'm a skeptic here).

It is an excellently-flavored tomato, but I like the Gardeners' Delight for
a cherry tomato, partly because it's larger and useful in Shish Kebabs.  
>5) Green Grape - Labelled as Experimental TM/MO5.   Supposedly 
>hangs in clusters like Muscat grapes. 

I don't like this tomato.  When it's ripe it's a sickly greenish-yellow.
>Any info you folks can give me is much appreciated.  Also I remember 
>talking to a friend from England who suggested it is very difficult to 
>get heirloom seeds there due to having to be on the "National List".
>Do any of you know what that is?  I'm curious to know if any one on this
>list are from England.  If so would you like to share seeds?   We'd 
>love to have a true heritage garden which included some old English 
>Again thanks to those who have offered suggestions.    Kim
>David Cooper and Kim Van Scoy
>"Dandelion Farm"
>W8947 Hwy. 12
>Fort Atkinson,  WI 53538
Join Seed Savers' Exchange.  There are savers listed from England who offer
tomato varieties.  Cost is $25 per year, sent to SSE, 3076 N. Winn Rd.,
Decorah, Iowa, 52101.  Their 1998 yearbook (that is, catalog of seeds
available) offers 11,044 unique varieties of seeds, scions, etc.  If you
list seeds available, you're eligible to order L.Q. (limited quantity
seeds), and seeds will usually cost $1 per packet from the offeror.  If you
don't offer seeds, they'll cost $2 per packet or more, depending on the
particular offeror.  Members abroad do charge more too.  But I've found
members usually supply more seeds than the commercial firms.  I am a member
of SSE, but have no devious intentions here.  Margaret