Early Girl

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Early Girl
ripe and unripe Early Girl fruit
ripe and unripe Early Girl fruit
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)
Type Hybrid
Vine Indeterminate
Plant height 9 feet
Fruit Weight 8 oz
Leaf regular leaf
Color Red
Shape Globe

The Early Girl tomato is a medium globe type F1 hybrid popular with home gardeners because of its early fruit ripening. Early Girl is an indeterminate growth variety, meaning that it produces flowers and fruit until killed by frost or some other external factor (in contrast to determinate varieties, which grow into a limited, predefined shape and are most productive for a single, larger harvest before dying or tapering off with minimal new growth/fruit). It is tall-growing and needs support as the plant grows. Fruit maturity claims range from 50 to 62 days from transplanting, which appeals to growers in climates with shorter frost-free seasons. Early Girl can tolerate temperatures as low as 40 °F,[1] and is well-suited for hot, dry climates.[2] Plants are reliable and prolific.

The ripe fruit is about the size and shape of a tennis ball—very much a standard tomato—and weighs 4 to 8 ounces (~130g). It has a bright color and good flavor.

Early Girl VF hybrid is verticillium and fusarium wilt (strain I) resistant. The VFF hybrid is resistant to fusarium wilt strains I & II. An open-pollinated version has also been bred, although it is not widely available.


Based on a short-season hybrid tomato developed in France, the Early Girl was originally distributed in the United States by PetoSeed Co., a major agricultural seed supplier.[3]

The variety was named "Early Girl" by PetoSeed boardmember Joe Howland to complement the company's popular "Better Boy" tomato. Seed catalog Burpee Seeds struck an exclusive three-year deal for the new variety, and featured it on the cover of its 1975 Spring catalog.[3]

Since 2005, Monsanto Company is the primary producer of Early Girl tomato seeds, after acquiring Seminis corporation and its patent on the hybrid. [4]

Though the plant is a hybrid, the Early Girl cultivar is no longer under plant variety protection. Some farmers have worked to stabilize an open-pollinated version.[5]

Dry farming[edit]

Early Girl hybrid tomato (second largest red), alongside a selection of heirloom tomatoes.

Early Girl is well suited to dry farming.[6] Researchers at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at the University of California, Santa Cruz, are among those who have described the technique: not watering tomatoes after transplanting, forcing the roots to grow deeper to seek out moisture, producing more "concentrated flavor," and saving water.[7]

Dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes have a cult following, and aficionados claim the taste of dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes rival those of the best-regarded heirloom tomatoes.[8][9][10]

Dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes are popular in farmers markets in the San Francisco Bay Area. The variety is also popular with home gardeners in that region, where it thrives despite the area's cool and often overcast summers.[11][12][13]

Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters is a fan of the Early Girl tomato, telling an interviewer "[O]ne of the best tomatoes I’ve ever had was an Early Girl that was dry-farmed up in Napa at a friend’s house." [14][15]

See also[edit]

List of tomato cultivars


  1. ^ "Early Girl Tomato". Tomatodirt.com. 
  2. ^ "Best Tomatoes for Hot, Dry Climates". Tomatodirt.com. 
  3. ^ a b "BioVam treated Early Girl Tomato plants have excellent qualities". Tandjenterprises.com. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  4. ^ "Early Girl is Here to Stay". monsantoblog.com. Retrieved 2015-05-19. 
  5. ^ Duggan, Tara (24 November 2014). "New 'Girl' is a Monsanto-free tomato". sfgate.com. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  6. ^ "The tastiest tomatoes … with the least water | Sunset". Find Articles. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  7. ^ "Field Notes" (PDF). 2006-08-25. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-09-02. 
  8. ^ "Ditty's Saturday Market: Exotic Melons". Saturdaymarket.com. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  9. ^ "What I bought at the Santa Cruz, Calif., farmers market, Aug. 20, 2008". Seasonalchef.com. 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  10. ^ "nopa". Nopasf.com. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  11. ^ Mike Palmer (2001-04-11). "A Tomato That's Great Both Early and Late". Sfgate.com. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  12. ^ Pam Peirce (2008-03-01). "'San Francisco Fog' tomatoes disappointing". Sfgate.com. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  13. ^ Pam Peirce, Special to The Chronicle (2008-03-01). "Master gardeners' tomato picks for the coast". Sfgate.com. Retrieved 2012-04-17. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "In a 1996 interview, Alice Waters talks about her connections with farmers". Seasonalchef.com. Retrieved 2012-04-17.