German Johnson

  • Sun: Full sun
  • Harvest Size: 12 to 24 ounces
  • Days to Harvest: 76 days
  • Plant Size: 4 to 6 feet
  • Plant Type: Indeterminate

Heirloom tomato German Johnson is big. The typical fruit weighs a pound, but can be even bigger. It is also big in the hearts of gardeners, especially those in the hot, humid Carolinas. Although not as productive as other tomatoes, it is fairly disease tolerant. If you want to plant heirlooms, German Johnson is a great way to start. We recommend both hybrid and heirloom tomatoes for your garden because hybrids are generally more productive and disease resistant.

We harvested around 30 fruits per plant in our Alabama test garden, where conditions are ideal and the season is long. Plant from spring (after the last frost) through early summer. If you buy early, you can keep plants on a sunny windowsill until the weather warms. To plant early, protect plants with row cover.

Plant spacing: 36 inches apart in conventional rows with a big, sturdy cage for a vigorous vine. Plants per person: 2 to 3.

Secrets to Success »

Plant deeply, so that two-thirds of the plant is buried stem and all; it will sprout roots. This makes the plant more resistant to drought and other problems. Fertilize when planting and during the growing season with Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food.

Water regularly. Tomatoes need steady watering to develop to full size and prevent cracking and blossom end rot. To keep the soil moist, mix compost into planting holes, and mulch around the plants after the soil warms. Watering with a soaker hose is best to keep leaves dry. Wet leaves encourage disease.

Support this vigorous vine with 8-foot stakes, tall trellis, or sturdy wire cage. Keeping vines off of the ground makes it easier to harvest, keeps fruit clean, and helps prevent disease. These vines that will climb a cage and cascade back down again.

Harvest and Use »

Pick fully colored, vine-ripe tomatoes to slice or quarter on a plate, in a salad, or on a sandwich. One slice of a German Johnson covers your bread. The red tomato is considered a “superfood” for its wealth of vitamins and antioxidants, including cancer-fighting lycopene.

Try These Garden Companions »

  • Sweet basil for tomato-and-basil salad or sandwich.
  • Parsley, rosemary, and oregano for continental cuisine.
  • Chocolate Cherry, Grape, Juliet, Sun Sugar, Super Sweet 100, Yellow Pear, or any cherry tomato, which bears all season.
  • Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Black Prince, Lemon Boy, and Mr. Stripey for diverse colors and flavors.
  • Big Beef, Goliath, Park's Whopper, or Red Beefsteak (indeterminate types) for a heavy crop of large tomatoes that are vivid red.
  • Roma for cooking and thick sauces.
  • BHN 602 VF123SW, Amelia VF123NStSW, or Talladega VFFTSWSt for disease resistance in the Deep South where spotted wilt virus is troublesome.
  • Homestead, Celebrity, Mountain Pride, Rutgers, Solar Fire, and Roma (determinate types) for a big harvest in a short time.

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