german johnson tomato

German Johnson Tomato Growing Guide

The German Johnson tomato is a popular heirloom variety that is widely grown and loved by gardeners and tomato enthusiasts alike. This tomato variety is known for its large size, delicious flavor, and juicy flesh.

It has a rich history that dates back to the 1800s and is considered to be one of the oldest heirloom tomatoes still in cultivation today. In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating history and characteristics of the German Johnson tomato, and offer some tips on how to grow and care for this delicious variety in your own garden.

What is a German Johnson tomato?

German Johnson tomato is a type of heirloom tomato that originated from the southern United States. It is a large, meaty tomato that is known for its excellent flavor and juiciness. The tomato is named after Johnson, who is believed to have introduced the variety to the United States in the late 1800s.

German Johnson tomatoes are typically pink or red in color and can weigh up to two pounds each. They are often used in salads, sandwiches, and sauces due to their delicious flavor and texture. The tomato is also commonly used in canning and preserving because of its meaty texture and high acidity.

One of the unique characteristics of German Johnson tomatoes is their ability to produce large yields, making them a popular choice among home gardeners and farmers. They are also known for their disease resistance, which makes them a low-maintenance option for those who want to grow their own tomatoes.

Overall, German Johnson tomatoes are an excellent choice for anyone who wants a flavorful, meaty tomato that is easy to grow and harvest. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this variety is sure to impress with its delicious taste and versatility in the kitchen.

How to start German Johnson tomatoes from seed

Starting tomatoes from seed is a cost-effective and rewarding way to grow your own tomato plants. To begin, choose the tomato varieties that suit your preferences and growing conditions. 

Fill seed trays or pots with a lightweight and well-draining seed starting mix, plant the seeds at the recommended depth, and provide adequate moisture and warmth for germination. 

Once the seedlings have developed their second set of true leaves, they can be transplanted into larger containers or individual pots. Gradually acclimate the seedlings to outdoor conditions before transplanting them into the garden. 

By following these basic steps, you can successfully start tomatoes from seed and enjoy a thriving crop of homegrown tomatoes.

Additional Resource: Our comprehensive guide to starting tomatoes from seed

Growing & care

Transplanting and caring for tomatoes outdoors involves a few essential steps. First, choose a sunny location with well-drained soil. Prior to transplanting, harden off the seedlings by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions. 

Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball of each seedling and plant them, burying the stem up to the first set of leaves. Water the seedlings thoroughly after transplanting. Provide consistent watering, aiming for 1-2 inches of water per week. 

Stake or cage the plants for support and prune indeterminate varieties by removing suckers. Monitor for pests and diseases, taking prompt action if necessary. By following these steps, you’ll set your tomato plants up for healthy growth and a fruitful harvest.

Additional Resource: How to transplant and care for tomatoes outdoors

Common tomato pests and diseases

Tomatoes are susceptible to various pests and diseases that can affect their health and productivity. Some common tomato pests include aphids, tomato hornworms, whiteflies, and cutworms. These pests can cause damage to leaves, stems, and fruit, leading to reduced plant vigor and yield. 

Additionally, tomato plants can be affected by diseases such as early blight, late blight, fusarium wilt, and verticillium wilt. These diseases can cause leaf discoloration, wilting, and fruit rot. Proper identification and timely intervention are crucial to effectively manage these pests and diseases and ensure the successful growth of tomato plants.

Additional Resource: Comprehensive list of tomato diseases and pests and how to fix them

Common problems

German Johnson tomatoes are a popular heirloom variety known for their large size, juicy flesh, and sweet flavor. However, like any tomato plant, they can be susceptible to a range of problems that can affect their growth and yield. Here are some common problems you may encounter when growing German Johnson tomatoes:

  1. Blossom end rot: This is a common problem that affects many tomato varieties, including German Johnson. Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency in the plant, which leads to black, sunken spots on the bottom of the fruit. To prevent this problem, make sure your soil is rich in calcium and keep the plant consistently watered.
  2. Fusarium wilt: This is a fungal disease that can cause wilting and yellowing of the leaves, stunted growth, and poor fruit production. Unfortunately, there is no cure for fusarium wilt, so prevention is key. Make sure to rotate your crops and avoid planting tomatoes in the same spot year after year. You can also choose disease-resistant varieties, although German Johnson is not known for its resistance to fusarium wilt.
  3. Tomato hornworms: These large, green caterpillars can quickly defoliate a tomato plant if left unchecked. Look for them on the underside of leaves and remove them by hand, or use an organic pesticide like neem oil to control them.
  4. Early blight: This fungal disease can cause yellowing and wilting of the leaves, as well as dark spots on the fruit. To prevent early blight, make sure your plants are spaced out to allow for good air circulation, and avoid overhead watering (which can spread the spores of the fungus).
  5. Cracking: German Johnson tomatoes are known for their large size, which can make them prone to cracking if they absorb too much water. To prevent cracking, make sure to water your plants deeply but infrequently, and avoid getting water on the leaves or fruit. You can also try using a mulch to help regulate soil moisture levels.

By being aware of these common problems, you can take steps to prevent them from affecting your German Johnson tomato plants and enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious, juicy fruit.


German Johnson tomatoes are a popular heirloom variety that are known for their big size, juicy flesh, and rich flavor. These tomatoes are typically used for a variety of culinary purposes due to their unique taste and texture.

One of the main uses of German Johnson tomatoes is in salads. The juicy flesh of the tomato is perfect for adding moisture to a fresh salad, and the rich flavor adds depth to the overall taste. They can also be used in sandwiches and burgers, adding a burst of flavor to each bite.

Another popular use for German Johnson tomatoes is in sauces and salsas. The meaty texture of these tomatoes makes them ideal for cooking down into a thick sauce that can be used as a base for a variety of dishes, from pasta to pizza.

In addition to these uses, German Johnson tomatoes can also be roasted or grilled, giving them a smoky flavor that pairs well with a variety of meats and vegetables. They can also be canned or pickled, preserving their delicious flavor for use throughout the year.

Overall, German Johnson tomatoes are a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of culinary applications. Whether you’re making a fresh salad, a hearty sauce, or a flavorful salsa, these tomatoes are sure to add a delicious touch to your dish.

Thomas Nelson
Gardening Expert
Hi! I'm Thomas, one of the founders of The Garden Magazine. I come from a long line of gardeners who used the art of gardening as a way to live long, healthy lives. I'm here to share my knowledge of gardening with the world!