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The Early Girl Tomato

The Early Girl tomato is a beautiful red, round tomato with many perks including its sweetness and early ripening time. It’s a dependable, high-yielding tomato that is ready for picking 50 days after planting and continues to produce until the fall frost kills the plant.

If you’re looking for a “sure thing” tomato for your garden that’s guaranteed to give you a healthy crop of tomatoes this summer, then keep reading to learn all about the Early Girl tomato.

A cluster of Earl Girl tomatoes ripening on the vine.
Early Girl tomatoes ripening on the vine.

History of the Early Girl Tomato

The Early Girl tomato is a hybrid variety that was originally developed in France. It was first distributed in the United States by the PetoSeed Company in the early 1970’s. The PetoSeed Company had another tomato variety at the time called the “Better Boy” tomato. So a board member named this tomato the “Early Girl” in order to complement their better boy variety.

Characteristics of the Early Girl Tomato

Ripening Season

The Early Girl is also aptly named for its early ripening season. Plants produce ready-to-eat fruit within a mere sixty days of when the seedlings are planted outdoors.

Closeup of unripe, green Early Girl tomatoes.
Green Early Girl tomatoes.

Tomato qualities

Early Girl tomatoes have a mild, old-fashioned tomato taste. Their acidity is nicely balanced with sweetness.

Tomato size

These tomatoes are not heirlooms but are actually a modern hybrid variety. This means they don’t get as big as some tomato types. These reach about the size of a tennis ball and weigh in between four and eight ounces.

Closeup of a single ripe Early Girl tomato.

Planting Zones

The Early Girl tomato flourishes in zones 3-9.

Size and Spacing

These plants reach a height of 6-10 feet and should be planted at least two feet apart as seedlings.

View between rows of tomato plants.

Pollination

Because the Early Girl tomato is an F1 hybrid, you can’t save the seeds from one of these tomatoes and grow more like them the next year. Being a hybrid means that they are a genetic mixture of two different kinds of tomatoes that must be hand-pollinated in order to produce the early girl variety.

Closeup of tomato blossoms.

This means that these tomatoes are not the open-pollination kind, and you’ll need to purchase new seeds each year as the seeds produced by your plants won’t be the same as the seeds you planted to raise them.

There’s nothing wrong with experimenting, though. You can certainly try planting some next-generation seeds and see what you get. Odds are there will be some interesting results. The tomatoes produced from these seeds would not be dangerous in anyway, but would likely be misshapen and would probably not taste good.

Plant Care

The following sections will provide highlights about tomato care. For a complete guide on optimal tomato plant care, from planting to harvesting and storage, please check out our article on How To Grow Tomatoes: The Complete Guide For the Best Tomatoes. 

Sunlight

These plants require direct sunlight, with means 6-8 hours per day of time in the sun.

Soil

Composted soil is best for these tomato plants.

A young tomato plant in a garden.

Water

Early Girl tomato plants should receive about an inch-worth of water per week.

Fertilizer

Tomatoes require specific nutrients (such as calcium) to produce their best crops of fruit. To learn how to determine what your tomatoes need and when they need it, consult our ultimate tomato fertilizer guide.

Pruning/Pinching

Pruning and pinching are a tomato care technique that can help your tomato put forth its best yield. But you need to know when to do this and what tomatoes need it. To help you with this, visit our pruning tomatoes guide.

Disease

These plants are resistant to most common tomato diseases–one of the reasons why this hybrid has become so popular. This makes them a good choice for organic gardeners.

Closeup of tomato seedlings in cups.

Part of its disease resistance is how quickly its fruit ripens–nearly a month before many other varieties. By the time diseases and pests find out where the plant is and start causing problems, the first fruits are already ripe for harvest.

Just about the only disease that can affect the Early Girl tomato plant is verticillium wilt, and even this won’t usually kill the plant, just slow its growth and decrease its yield. Verticillium wilt is a common fungal disease of tomato and squash plants that sneaks in through any openings or wounds in the plant and steals nutrients from the plant to feed itself.

To learn how to detect, treat, and take steps to prevent diseases, read our tomato diseases guide.

Pests

That being said, there are some common pests that can still cause harm to your early girl tomato plants.

Tomato Hornworms

These pests tend to prefer tomato plants above any other kind of greenery. They are green or blue, have a reddish horn-like tail, and grow faster than should be possible. A handful of them can consume an entire plant in a matter of days.

It’s best to keep an eye out for these critters and dispose of them as quickly as possible when they make an appearance.

Not to worry — tomato hornworms only look dangerous. The best (and easiest) way to get rid of them
is to remove them by hand

Aphids

Aphids are tiny translucent green bugs that hide out on the undersides of tomato leaves. If it seems that your plants are being eaten by invisible creatures, flip over a few leaves and you’ll probably find these guys.

They are difficult to get rid of as they are so small and there are usually so many of them. But they are a favorite food of ladybugs. If you don’t already get a lot of ladybugs where you live, you may be able to purchase some from a grower and then release them around your tomato plants, encouraging them to stick around and take care of your aphid problem.

For information to help you spot, eliminate, and deter 15 different pests, visit our guide on common tomato pests.

When to Harvest Early Girl Tomatoes

Early Girl tomato first fruits ripen 52-60 days after transplanting. More will continue growing throughout the year as long as the weather stays above 40 degrees and you can keep the pests away.

Common Uses For Early Girl Tomatoes

Overhead view of pizza with slices of tomato on it.

What Does This Tomato Taste Like?

The Early Girl tomato has a mild taste. There’s a lot of sweetness to balance out the acidity characteristic of other tomato types.

Cooking

These tomatoes are great to cook with. They add a little sweetness to tomato sauces and other cooked or baked meals.

Closeup of baked, stuff tomatoes.

Eating raw

This fruit is safe to eat raw. It is best to rinse with a little water first though, to remove any unwanted debris or pesticides if you used them.

While smaller than some tomato varieties that can cover a sandwich in one slice, these are still considered great slicing tomatoes. They are excellent for sandwiches and salads and wonderful diced in a sweet salsa.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

All of these methods are acceptable for preserving Early Girl tomatoes.

Recipe Ideas

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Double Tomato Bruchetta

Tomato and Bacon Jam

Health Benefits of Early Girl Tomatoes

These tomatoes are a great source of vitamins A, B, and C.

Closeup of a cut tomato.

Where to Buy Early Girl Tomato Plants or Seeds

Your local farmer’s market or garden store are likely the best places to look for Early Girl plants and seeds. You may also be able to buy seeds on Amazon.

Where to Buy Early Girl Tomatoes

Early Girl tomatoes are sometimes available at grocery stores, but you may have more luck at your local farmer’s market.

Wrapping Up the Early Girl Tomato

This sweet and old-fashioned-tasting tomato is a great choice to add to your garden, as it will produce fruit for you nearly a month before your other tomato plants. The shorter waiting period is a big plus for these plants!

Closeup of picked Early Girl tomatoes.

Have a tip about growing the Early Girl tomato or a favorite tomato recipe for your Early Girl tomatoes? Share it in the comments section below!

If you’re a tomato lover, then click here to read our other tomato-related blog articles.