If you are planning on growing fast-maturing Early Girl tomatoes in your garden this year, you might be wondering how big the plants and fruit will get. That way, you can plan the number of plants and the amount of space you will need for your crop of Early Girl tomatoes.
So, how big do Early Girl tomatoes get? Vining Early Girl tomato plants will grow to a height of 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) tall and 52 inches wide, and produce fruit that weighs 6 to 8 ounces (170 to 227 grams). The bush variety of Early Girl tomato plants will grow to a height of only 3 feet, with a width of 3 feet and similar fruit size as the vining variety.
Of course, the quality of your fruit (if you get any at all!) depends on the care that you give your tomato plants. Let’s take a closer look at Early Girl tomatoes, including size, growing conditions, and time to maturity.
How Big Do Early Girl Tomatoes Get?
The fruit of an Early Girl tomato plant will grow to a size of 6 to 8 ounces. The Early Girl variety is considered a “slicer” tomato, making it perfect for snacks or salads.
For more information, check out this information on Early Girl tomatoes from the Bonnie plants website.
There are two options for Early Girl tomatoes: vining (indeterminate) and bush (determinate).
A vining Early Girl tomato plant will grow to a height of 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 meters) tall. The height of indeterminate tomato varieties makes it essential to support them with stakes or trellises.
On the other hand, a bush Early Girl tomato plant will grow to a height of only 3 feet tall, with a width of 3 feet. These plants are ideal for growing in containers on patios, and can be supported by tomato cages.
For more information, check out my article on tomato cages.
Are Early Girl Tomatoes Determinate or Indeterminate?
There are both indeterminate (vining) and determinate (bush) varieties of Early Girl tomatoes. Depending on where and how you want to grow, you can choose either one.
Vining Early Girl tomatoes are indeterminate, meaning that their maximum height is not predetermined by their genetics. They will continue to grow taller throughout the season until something kills them, such as a frost or a lack of water and nutrients.
Compare this to determinate tomato varieties, such as bush Early Girl tomatoes, which achieve a certain predetermined height and then stop growing.
If you are looking to grow tomatoes in a container indoors, vining Early Girl and other indeterminate varieties will grow too tall for your purposes. A bush Early Girl tomato plant would work well in a container, and could grow indoors if pruned properly (more on this later).
How Long Does It Take Early Girl Tomatoes To Ripen?
After transplanting into your garden, an Early Girl tomato plant will take between 50 and 54 days to ripen. If you start an Early Girl tomato from seed, it will take about 25 days longer to see mature, ripe fruit on the vine (for a total of 75 to 79 days from seed to ripe fruit).
Early Girl tomatoes are extremely prolific. The indeterminate variety will keep producing throughout the season. As a result, you can end up with dozens upon dozens of tomatoes per plant in a growing season!
For more information, check out my article on when tomatoes produce fruit.
Since Early Girl tomatoes are a hybrid variety, it is not always feasible to save the seeds and plant them the following year. Unlike heirloom tomato varieties, hybrid tomato varieties will not always “grow true to type”.
This means that the seeds will not always grow into plants that are similar to the parent plant. The seeds from hybrid plants may not look anything like the parent plant, and may end up being sterile, unable to produce any fruit.
What Do Early Girl Tomatoes Look Like?
The fruit of an Early Girl tomato plant is bright red and juicy. The fruit is medium-sized, about as big as a tennis ball (2 to 4 inches in diameter) and weighing 6 to 8 ounces (170 to 227 grams).
Early Girl is a slicer tomato variety, meaning that the fruits are the perfect size to slice up for snacks and salads.
A vining (indeterminate) early girl tomato plant is tall, and will usually require a stake or trellis for support. A bush (determinate) early girl tomato plant is short but wide, taking up more ground space but easier to harvest from.
For more information, check out this information on Early Girl tomatoes from the Burpee website.
Are Early Girl Tomatoes Hard To Grow?
Early Girl tomatoes are not too difficult to grow, since they have been bred for disease resistance and fast growth. They do require full sun, so a shady location will not work for Early Girl tomatoes.
Also, the fruit matures in 50 to 54 days, which is on the low end as far as time to maturity for tomato plants. This makes it easier to get a good harvest of Early Girl tomatoes.
Remember that every day on the vine is another chance for diseases, such as blight, to infect your tomato plants. So, a fast time to maturity means that your plants are not exposed to these problems as long as other tomato varieties.
For more information, check out my article on tomato blight.
Of course, there are other factors to consider when deciding whether to grow Early Girl tomato plants. The quality of care that you give your tomato plants will help to determine how much fruit you get each year. Some of the most important factors are temperature, watering, fertilizing, and pruning.
Temperature For Early Girl Tomatoes
Early fall frosts or late spring frosts can spell death for your Early Girl tomato plants. The threat is increased if you live in an area with a short growing season.
Early Girl tomato plants can tolerate temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). However, if temperatures drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) or lower, your Early Girl tomato plants may die.
For more information, check out this article on Early Girl tomatoes from Wikipedia.
There are some ways to protect your plants from frost, including the use of row covers. For more information, check out my article on protecting your tomato plants from cold and frost.
On the other extreme, your tomato plants may stop producing fruit if daytime temperatures are over 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). In addition, the hot, sticky days of summer can prevent proper pollination due to excessive humidity.
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about high temperatures or humidity levels. Just be sure to insulate your tomato plants by putting a layer of mulch or compost over the topsoil around them.
If you encounter problems with pollination, check out my article on how to pollinate tomato plants by hand.
Watering For Early Girl Tomatoes
Avoid letting the soil stay dry for too long, since uneven watering can lead to blossom end rot in tomatoes. If you find that you have a problem with dry soil, check out my article on how to treat dry soil.
On the other hand, over watering your Early Girl tomato plants (or any plants for that matter) can lead to root rot and eventual death. The best way to decide when to water is to feel the soil with your fingers.
If the soil feels dry 2 or 3 inches below the surface, then go ahead and water. For more information, check out my article on over watering your plants.
Try to water early in the morning, rather than at night, to allow water to soak into the soil. Avoid getting the leaves wet to prevent rot, mold, and diseases.
Fertilizing For Early Girl Tomatoes
Before you plant tomato seeds or transplants in your garden, add some compost to your soil. It will provide organic material and nutrients for your plants as they grow. The best part is that you can make compost yourself from ordinary yard and kitchen waste!
For more information, check out my article on how to make your own compost.
It may be necessary to use fertilizers as a supplement to compost, in order to provide extra nutrients if your soil is lacking. The best way to tell if you need fertilizer is with a soil test.
For more information, check out my article on soil testing.
The soil pH should be between 6.2 and 6.8 – a soil test will also indicate the pH of your soil.
Finally, remember that it is possible to harm or kill your tomato plants by over fertilizing them. For example, too much nitrogen can prevent your tomato plant from producing any fruit.
Pruning For Early Girl Tomatoes
Many gardeners choose to prune off the suckers, or side shoots, of tomato plants as they grow. The result is fewer, but larger, fruits on the vine.
Pruning away the lower leaves and branches of the tomato plant can also help to prevent the spread of disease in your garden. When you remove the lower leaves and branches, there is less chance of dirt splashing up onto leaves due to rain or watering.
Vining Early Girl tomato plants are already large, and tend to produce more fruit than other tomato varieties. For this reason, you may want to prune carefully. This will avoid branches that are overloaded with fruit, which can lead to breakage.
Bush Early Girl tomato plants that are grown indoors will need to be pruned carefully to keep them within the confines of their containers.
For more information, check out this article on pruning tomatoes from the University of New Hampshire Extension.
By now, you have a much better idea of how big Early Girl tomatoes get, in terms of both the fruit on the vine and the plant itself. You also know a bit more about the care that is necessary to ensure a healthy crop of Early Girl tomatoes in this year’s garden.
I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone else who can use the information. If you have any questions or advice about Early Girl tomatoes, please leave a comment below.
If you want to grow your best tomatoes every year, check out my article on the common mistakes to avoid when growing tomatoes.