British green tiger tomatoes from Marks & Spencer

In April 2007 I bought “British Green Tiger” tomatoes from M&S. Even allowing for supermarket fruit not being at its best (liable to be picked underripe, and often served overchilled) I liked them, not just for their taste but also their burgundy flesh behind green and burgundy striped skin. They were slightly larger-than-average cherry tomatoes. 80% of the reason for buying them though was to see how they would grow at home…

In 2007 it was really too late to have started the plants, and growing outdoors, they did too badly to reach a conclusion about how to grow them and whether they would come true. There was, however, some sign of the tiger stripes on the green fruit.

In 2008 I tried again, eventually abandoning a couple of plants to their own devices outside and giving one space in the greenhouse, where I plumped for growing it as a cordon because that was what I did with its neighbours. It proved relatively productive, and the fruit came true so far as I could see. It was quite as tasty, if not more so because allowed to ripen. Downsides were that they were fairly thick skinned and several of mine split, as my photos show, but that could be down to lazy watering. It’s promising enough to try again another year and I still have a reasonable amount of seed from the original fruit.

I wasn’t able to find out how to tell the best way to grow it but the cordon method seemed to work fine. In Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties (Carol Deppe’s marvellous, but dangerously inspirational, “Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving”) I read that commercially grown greenhouse varieties tend to be indeterminate, in order to make the most of the expensive growing space. Since I bought these from a UK producer in April, it’s safe to conclude that they would be greenhouse grown (it’s probably safe to conclude that most UK tomatoes are still greenhouse grown in August!) and therefore I think the indeterminate option is probably best.¬† I only got Carol Deppe’s book this autumn so I didn’t know this when I was growing my plants this year.

Rebsie, writer of Daughter of the Soil and also very much to blame for my interest in this kind of thing, has experimented with the same variety from the same source. She has some lovely pics and far better and more detailed information on

M&S sold them again in summer 2008 so it may well be worth looking out for them in 2009.

Green tiger tomatoes 2007

Green tiger tomatoes 2007

Truss of green tiger tomatoes, 2008

Truss of green tiger tomatoes, 2008

Meanwhile, here are my pictures of the original supermarket fruit – cut up on a chopping board – and some fruit from the 2008 harvest.


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