Early Tomato Varieties

BruneauJanuary 27, 2013

Hello all I am new here but have been vegetable gardening for a number of years. I typically grow just 2 or 3 varieties of tomatoes that I buy as plants locally but last year I started my own indoors from seed with good luck. This year I am going to try a whole bunch of very early varieties to see how soon I can get a tomato to ripen (usually it is late August before we get ripe tomatoes here) I am also going to evaluate how productive and flavorful the tomatoes are. I may post the results here at the end of summer. I have grown Oregon Spring and Early girl before but the others are new to me. Are there any others I should try or does anyone recommend against anything on my list? Right now I have seed or am getting seed for these 15 varieties.

Bradley, Glacier, Early Wonder, Kimberly, Benewah, Latah, Matina, Polar Baby, Siberian, Siletz, Stupice, Sugar Baby, and Sub-arctic plenty. Oregon Spring and Early girl which are popular tomatoes here will be included as well.


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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

You might want to read a recent thread on a similar question, which I will link to below. Have you also considered techniques to extend your season? I am going to try setting out my tomatoes a few weeks earlier by using Wall-O-Waters. Others have used tunnels. I haven't tried either technique yet, but I'd like to extend my season since many of my favorite tomatoes can take three months to produce ripe fruit.

Here is a link that might be useful: Early tomatoes for zone 5

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 5:46PM
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Thanks for linking that thread, I had found a couple older threads in a search but didn't see this one.

I have used black plastic and also covered transplants with clear plastic buckets when it is cold and that has helped early on in the season. The problem here is that it does not warm up until almost July and even then we get cold nights through the summer even if the days are hot. We have had light frosts in July and August and last year it got down to 22 degrees the first week of Sept. Earliest I have ever gotten a ripe tomato was about the 5th of August one very hot summer.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 6:24PM
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You will soon be more experienced than I am with early tomatoes, Bruneau. I am kind of in your neighborhood so maybe a response will be of some help. (That linked thread should give you some good ideas, also.)

Bloody Butcher and Kimberley have been my earliest reds and ripen right along with the golden cherries, Sungold & SunSugar.

You know Latah is a U of Idaho release from many years ago. When those varieties first showed up, I grew Benewah, Shoshone, and Kootenai. I liked Kootenai best but that was about 35 years ago! They were all a one shot thing for me but I see that the seed is still out there. I'm quite sure that I didn't grow Latah but it is good to see the favorable "press" on it.

Way back then, I also grew Sub-arctic but I'm quite sure it was the Maxi. My garden was about 500 feet higher in elevation then and I was so glad to get down to a lower elevation so that I had more choices.

I had Early Wonder once in recent years and didn't find it as good as Early Girl, neither for earliness or flavor. Oh yes, I have had EG right along. Well, I was stuck in Sub-arctic land when EG first came out.

Stupice, I thought was a good choice and it had a fuller flavor than most early varieties. Bloody Butcher is real good that way. Still, my Stupice plants produced almost nothing but deformed fruits.

And, those are the early varieties from your list and the ones that stand out in my memory. This year, I intend to grow Fireworks because I've heard for a number of years that it does well in the Palouse. I don't live quite in the Palouse but hope that it can run some competition with the Early Girls.

Bloody Butchers and Kimberley will also be in mix, along with the cherries and a few early yellows that I've had fun with in recent years.

I hope that helps a little.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 9:27PM
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Digit- thanks for the info, i may have to add to my list. I am actually located in Latah county. I did know about the UI bred tomatoes but have never grown them. I picked Latah because I read some good reviews and Benewah because it is supposed to be a bit bigger than Kootenai, Shoshone, Bonner, and Sandpoint.

Celebrity is one of my regulars because it is bigger and very flavorful but still sets fruit okay with cold nights. Did not get a single ripe fruit off them 2 of the past 3 years though.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 10:37PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Bruneau, take a look at member fusion power's temperature info on this thread:

Unfortunately I don't know where you could find information about those special or Russian varieties that can withstand the really cold temps.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 1:23PM
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Hi Bruneau,
You've got a great list of early varieties to work with. Generally speaking, the varieties with Russian and Czech names are more suited to your climate. They tolerate cooler climates and shorter seasons. A couple of others you might want to try are Matina, a small red heirloom that's really flavorful and Tigerella, a small striped variety. It's also known as Mr. Stripey. Green Zebra could also be a good choice for you.

I had great luck last year growing grafted tomatoes. They tolerate temperature changes and produced much later into the season. You can put them in the ground a little earlier which might help with your harvest date.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 7:33PM
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Thanks for the additional comments. I have added 3 more to the list - bloody buthcher, fireworks, and fourth of July hybrid. A couple others look interesting as well but I am already getting a little carried away. If I have good luck this year I will likely keep my favorites and trial a few more new ones the next year.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:25PM
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Gregori's Altai is a very good nice size pink tomato. It matures in about 65 days for me. Would be a week or so more in a cooler climate.


    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:20PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Did you post your results? Which Siberian did you grow. I am confused because there is another bigger tomato also called Siberian. This other one is sometimes called Red Siberian but I have seen it as just Siberian. I am interested in knowing which Siberian you grew and what you thought of it. I grow the oblong small tomato that is red from Sandhill. It sets fruit in the heat. It is not my favorite tomato to eat when all the big ones are getting ripe, but it is very dependable. It set fruit in the heat last year when most things quit.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 1:49PM
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I wound up doing a major variety trial for cold tolerance this year and concurrently a guy in Utah grew some of the same varieties for comparison. There were a couple of real winners.

Jagodka - This is a 1 to 1.5 inch diameter tomato on a compact determinate plant. It is very productive given the size and matures fruit in 50 days which is about a week earlier than most other varieties I grew.

Sub Arctic Plenty - This was a larger fruited variety that produced a very heavy crop of tomatoes. Maturity was 3 weeks after Jagodka.

Bloody Butcher - Another heavy producer that is readily available. Fruit size and shape are comparable to Kimberly but Bloody Butcher tastes better and produces more fruit.

The biggest surprise for me was to find that growing indeterminates in short season areas is risking not getting all the fruit ripe at the end of the season. Jagodka, a compact determinate, matured 100% of fruit set and the vine was dying by the end of the season in Utah.

Otherwise, I grew about 50 varieties this year, rougly half of which were to test for cold tolerance. There were no others that were outstanding for cold tolerance. I did however identify a very high level of disease tolerance in one of the Solanum Pimpinellifolium lines that I grew. I am working it into a breeding line now.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 7:56PM
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I can report on the Fireworks that I wrote about back on 1/28.

Not Early Enough. The 1st fruits on my 2 plants were misshapen and tossed while still green. I picked a ripe fruit on each of the 2 plants on 8/25. On 9/7, 2 more tomatoes were ripe on each of the plants . . . So, I'd only taken 3 off of each plant by the 2nd week of September! We've had frost by that time in previous years.

Oh, there were a lot more Fireworks coming on by that time and they were nice, good-tasting tomatoes. The plants held up well this summer. How it had a rating as a 60-day tomato didn't make any sense to me, however. Heck, the Early Girls were going strong by about 3 weeks before the Fireworks.

Bloody Butcher was early and abundant. Kimberley did well.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 1:51AM
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Was wondering if anyone tried Taimyr tomato, this one is det super early supps to have great cold tolerance and fruit set at cool temps... Tatiana lists it as excellent taste

    Bookmark   October 26, 2013 at 10:51PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Bruneau ,
As I read your list, you are pretty much covered when talking about EARLY variety. I know this, because I have been studying this intensively.
So then let me ask your personal experience and opinion about :

How would you rate them in scale of 5 to 10 ?

I have also read few good reviews on BLOODY BUTCHER.

We, at the PNW also have a lingering cool spring extending well into July. Even after that rarely temps get to 85F and beyond and night temps rarely goes over 63F. Though we have almost 7 months of frost free growing season but good part of it is too cool if not cold.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2013 at 5:04AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I did not get any response from " Bruneau " back then. 2013 is history now. But for 2014 I am fully set with quite few EARLY ones, as follows:

--- Bloody Butcher
--- Matina
--- Siletz
--- Siberia(N)
--- Early Treat ( aBurpee hyb)
--- Legend.
--- Silvery Fir Tree

I did not choose Stupice b/c of mix reviews. Then I wanted Kimberly but could not find seeds for it off the rack.

I am now growing all those listed (under lights)..

What are your 2014 EARLY varieties ?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 4:52AM
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My list of super early to early.
Sugar Drop
Black Shadow
Sibirskiy Skorospeliy
Maya and Sionôs Airdie Classic
Jaune Flammee
Perth Pride
Belarusian Early
Yaponskiy Karlik
Biyskaya Roza
Galinaôs Red
Moravsky Div
Little Bells
Rote Herztomato
Sunsugar F1

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 1:11PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Wow ! Linda,
That is some selection up there. I have only one of them (Matina). Most of the name I hear for the first time. Have you started your seeds yet ?

I would like to know which one, in your list, will be your first one to harvest. I will also post mine. I will probably open a new thread then , like : First Harvest, by Zone and Variety: This way we can benefit from each others experience. But that is long way away.

Good luck

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 5:08PM
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I agree that Bloody Butcher is a good early. It grows FAST and sets heavy. Taste pretty good too.

I am growing Siberian now and it has started to set. We have had such a warm Winter in CA it may not survive too long but I hope to at least taste some fruit.

I also have PSR 37 growing for the first time this year. It is an OP from one of the lines from which Early Girl was created. I always thought Early Girl was pretty good and certainly dependable if nothing else!

Moskvich is my fav early but seems to be more of a mid for many.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 4:38PM
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rnewste(8b NorCal)

I took a shot, and put out a few Bloody Butcher on Feb. 15 here in San Jose, CA.

Bloody Butcher Mar 9

So far, so good - weather here has been wonderful (80 today)


    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 8:39PM
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Yes I don't think we are going to have Winter this year....

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 9:10PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Yes I don't think we are going to have Winter this year....

Winter ? in SoCal, in the spring ? You must be kidding. Here in our neck of the wood (PNW) we are having a nice spring weather. Highs around mid 50s. I take it.

Talking about EARLY matoes, I am glad with my pick of Bloody Butcher and Siberian, after reading your guys posts. I am also betting on MATINA and SILETZ. One more hybrid from burpees called EARLY TREAT. the package says DTM of 49 days. I drink to that.
My seedlings have just ONE pair of true leave right now. Considering that they emerged about a week ago, that is not bad.
Today I started making a hoophouse. Tomorrow I will finish it. I also have a cold frame. So I am ready when my babies are. hehe
Happy 2014 Season !

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 10:37PM
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All of mine have germinated and potted. I am thinking Taimyr and Yaponskiy Karlik will be fastest since they are both dwarfs and Taimyr specifically has a lot of cold tolerance. Kootenai and Sibirskiy Skorospeliy should be second I think. Some of others are on larger side like Rote Herztomato which will be later than others just due to size. I do not think I will have a fair competition though as my dwarfs will go into 3 G pots weather permitting move in and out fairly soon. And Matina, Jaune Flammee and Sugar Drop will go into protected mini greenhouse on south side of the house...

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 1:09PM
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I planted Early Treat for the first time last year. It was the earliest, but only by a few days ahead of Early Girl and 1 week ahead of Thessaloniki. Took over 2 months, but I put them in early without protection, in April, and we had some cold weather after that. Amazing they all survived.

This year I'm trying Bloody Butcher for the first time, next to ET and see who wins. Will try a cold frame and/or low tunnel for the first time as well. No EG this year, after one has the first few fruits, the novelty wears off, and taste gets old real fast. I can't afford sub-optimal use of any garden space.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 6:31PM
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My early, earlies will be the usual: Bloody Butcher & Kimberley with the golden cherry hybrids. Once again, I'm trying for some larger varieties with some productivity and earliness.

I've grown Thessaloniki for quite a few years and don't see that as too much of an early variety - earlier than some. I am surprised that it was just a few days behind Early Girl for Taboule there in Massachusetts. It comes in only the last couple of weeks of my season here.

Posted by seysonn ". . . I would like to know which one, in your list, will be your first one to harvest. I will also post mine. I will probably open a new thread then , like : First Harvest, by Zone and Variety: This way we can benefit from each others experience. But that is long way away. . . "

Seysonn, I also will be interested how this comes out. I don't think you are going to be very competitive there in Heat Zone 1 with other USDA zone 7 gardeners. The hoophouse should really help but I doubt that you are thinking of this as a competition.

In the '60's, I was gardening on the coast of northern California. I don't know my heat zones - maybe still zone 1? Anyway, the lack of summer warmth and the many days of overcast skies were only barely compensated for by the long growing season. Maybe gardening is a good patience-building experience everywhere.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 9:57AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Steve, ... You are right. I am not trying to be competitive. I want to know what kinds of results others get with their EARLY ones. There is no way with my HEAT ZONE to be competitive. All I am trying to do ((with hoop, cold frame..)) is to help the situation here a bit.

In another 2 weeks or so, I will test the waters. Right now ,it is so nice out that I am itching to get it started. But got to wait.

This post was edited by seysonn on Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 3:48

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 11:18AM
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to update my list
Sugar Drop- just tasted first, was in more shade that I thought, otherwise would be earlier, excellent!
Black Shadow- green fruit
Kootenai- green fruit
Matina- changed to yellow for while but nothing, very productive
Sibirskiy Skorospeliy- green fruit but under shady conditions
Maya and Sionôs Airdie Classic- green fruit
Jaune Flammee- same as Matina
Taimyr- green fruit, not that early, but is dwarf
Perth Pride- green fruit
Belarusian Early- changed color
Yaponskiy Karlik- green fruit and loaded
Biyskaya Roza- first ripe fruit, large
Galinaôs Red- green fruit
Moravsky Div- the very first, several ripe tomatoes
Gribovsky- changed colors
Little Bells- lots but still green
Rote Herztomato- appeared determine, green fruit
Sunsugar F1- the very first in the garden
In Addition
Haley Purple comet- broke the color
Koroleva - near ripe
Noir de Crimee - near ripe
Bychie Serdse - near ripe

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 8:14PM
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I usually plant Matina in Louisiana (Zone 9) and they turn out like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b4LktURbMQ

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Tomatoes!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2014 at 11:41PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)


my 2014 EARLY ones, were as follows:

--- Bloody Butcher: Wont repeat. It produced the very first ripe tomato. BUT the fruit size was too small, not that prolific, aggressive vine, PL prone to diseases (mildew ? mold ?).

--- Matina: Not as early BUT, good size juicy tomatoes, prolific. Will grow it again

--- Siletz: My favorite early. Has good size fruits (5 oz +). It was the earliest along with Bloody Butcher.

--- Siberia(N): Not really early. Maybe MID. Nice compact det plant. Still has fruits. Will grow it again

--- Early Treat: ( a Burpee hyb): Zapping it. Not as early, not prolific , small fuits...

--- Legend: I'll Keep it

--- Silvery Fir Tree : Zapping. Though I like the foliage but fruit set/size/ were inconsistent and only produced one flush.

--- Stupice: also zapping it. Reasons: not early AND small inconsistent fruits shape/size

OK, folks, time to report back. Let us share experiences and evaluations.
Hope your season was a great one. Mine was.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2014 at 12:46AM
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