Old German Heirloom Tomato – March Tomato of the Month

The Tomato of the Month for March is the Old German Heirloom Tomato. This tomato was a favorite of Mennonite families from the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia, and dates back to the mid-1800’s. It is in the beefsteak family and can grow to a robust size of almost 2 pounds. The Old German tomato is bi-colored, featuring golden yellow and reddish stripes.

The Old German tomato can be started indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost date (depending on your zone). It is an indeterminate tomato plant, and is not heralded as a heavy producer. The large size and excellent taste of this tomato more than makes up for its sometimes lack of production. These tomatoes are generally ready to pick about 75 to 80 days after the seeds germinate.

The Old German Heirloom tomato has more of a oblong shape rather than the typical round tomato. It is ideal for slicing and can be preserved by canning or freezing. The Old German Tomato would be a superb addition to any tomato garden!

Have you ever grown Old German Heirloom Tomatoes? If so, please tell us about it!

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25 Comments on Old German Heirloom Tomato – March Tomato of the Month

  1. What a gorgeous tomato! I’m planting heirloom tomatoes for the first time this year. I am still making a list of the maters I want to grow. This one looks so good. I think I’ll add it to my list. I’d love to see a list of heirloom tomatoes you recommend. I’m trying to grow enough to can/dry to have food over winter.
    .-= Jackie Lee´s last blog ..I’m A Home Bread Baking Fool =-.

    • Hi Jackie, It is a great looking tomato! There are so many wonderful tomatoes to choose from it is difficult to pick just a few. Some of my favorite heirloom tomatoes are Brandywine (a popular variety), Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Pink Caspian, Mortgage Lifter and Chocolate Cherry ( a cherry tomato variety). Please let me know what you decide to grow this year. I look forward to hearing about it! If you ever need anything, do not hesitate to contact me. I’ll be glad to help in any way I can.

  2. Wow! I wouldn’t want to eat this one because it is so gorgeous. I haven’t seen a tomato this big and it is actually really cool to grow one like this. But I think it requires a lot of skills and talent. So two thumbs up to the one who grow this.

  3. We grew this tomato for the first time last season(2010). It was by far our favorite. We usually grow about 8 different varieties, mostly heirlooms. Good grower and produced very well. Great flavor with no acidity. Will be growing more plants this year.

  4. It would help to know where you are growing these–I planted one near Santa Rosa, Ca–just beginning to bloom–purchased it in 4 inch pot.

    • I raised an Old German Tomato by chance, having picked it up with some other tomato plants in April.
      Kept waiting for the tomato to turn red but it only became golden. It is the sweetest, best tomato I’ve ever tasted. I saved the seeds and now have about 50 plants and am slowly planting them so they can be shaded from our sever south Texas heat wave, also no rainfall. My original plant is still producing and is approx. 5′, tall, and I’m glad it is in a tomato cage due to the number of limbs.

  5. I moved to Shenandoah valley Va and by the greatest good fortune came upon German Yellow plants. They quickly became the only tomato I grew. I loved them with a passion. Having moved now to NY I have not been able to produce any decent tomato in except for some yellow cherry tomatoes. Then last years late blight did in all the tomatoes in the area. Anyone know how I can grow tomatoes in upstate NY. My Germans did very badly.

  6. they do poor in western washinfton.no tomato set at all. all the blossoms fell off even with hand pollination. so disappointed.

    • I planted them for the first time this year, and just picked my very first one. Sliced it open, surprised to see the red and gold skin, and the golden flesh of the tomato. And boy is it delicious! Took longer than any of the others, but worth the wait. I’ve heard so many stories this year about it being a bad year for tomatoes Terry, I’d just say try again next year. Another new one to me this year is Sun Sugar. Like a Sweet 100, only yellow. Delicious! Celebrity, Stupice, Abe Lincolns all did poorly for me. Very small fruit, nothing to write home about. But the Old Germans… Can’t wait to dig into more of em. I think next year, I’ll plant 2 or 3 of them.

  7. I read in another website that Old German seeds are endangered. Is this the case? What constitutes a tomato getting on the endangered species list. I have some seeds.. should I be growing them and sending them back into the world to live long and prosper?

  8. Just purchased Old German, Brandwine and Cherokee purple
    So now we begin babying them until I get a better aspect. Sun for only half a day presents some problems but as you know, the first bite makes it all worthwhile. Cape Cod weather is fickle!

  9. I bought 2 plants from Buchanan’s in Houston during March. Planted them in big pots. They are about 24 inches tall. Had them on the deck and thought there might not be enough sun so I moved them to the yard where they get sun just about all day. Not a blossom in sight. What can I do?

  10. I orginally bought this tomato as a gag for my mom, as she always states she is an “Old German/Kraut”. I did grow it and now I can say this was the best gag I did, wonderful fruit in taste and looks, by far one of my new favorite tomatoes and it also provided many laughs and jokes among the long line of Germans.

  11. Bought an old german plant in april. It is about 5 feet tall now with lots of blooms. It is June 2 now and not even one of the blooms has produced a tomato. So looking forward to tasting just one of these but for some reason can’t get it to make a tomato. Self pollinated and let nature pollinate them. Nothing! My black krim next to it has several tomatoes on it and good size now. What else can I do?

  12. From Eastern Ontario…..I planted all Heritage tomatoes in my greenhouse this spring. I babied them, transplated them for maximum root growth; exposure to the sun for 2 weeks under a partial shade porch, put them in the soil on a cloudy day, watered them……..and lost 80% to damp rot at soil level. Roots are still strong, but plants wilted then fell over within a week. Arggggh. At first I suspected our first ever outbreak of cucumber beetles with a side of squash bugs, but the commercial tomatoes are going strong. Any advice?

  13. These beauties are the biggest tomatoes I have ever grown. They are absolutely huge and have yet to turn color. Plants are over 6′ tall, fruit is bigger than a softball. Have about six tomatoes but I expected small crop from what I have read. Will plant again in the Fall since I am in Austin, Texas.

    • Wow 6!! I have 3 finally. Mine are the size of golf balls. Can’t wait for these to grow. My plants are about 6 feet tall too. But the 100 degree weather is here so don’t know if I will get any more. Too darn hot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Help Green Thumb with Green Tomatoes:
      Planted in April plant grew quickly from 3inch plant to a 3 foot plant with 7-8 tomatoes. Currently they are the size of a regular tomato and have a golden base and green top. How do I know when they are ripe.
      Have never grown any plants before so I do not know when I should harvest them.

  14. Hi, from your neighbor to the south! I've never heard of Aumsville before.

  15. Hi Doris, I am Donna.  I have only been on here about 10 minutes myself.  I am anxious to hear how your husband does with the pumpkin contest.  We are also in zone 8, and I just ordered seeds for large pumpkins, but I think it may be too late to start them this year because it is already almost 100 degrees here daily and I doubt new sprouts could handle the intense sun.  But one trick I have found very helpful is to put my lawn chairs in the garden, right over new transplants and shade them for 4 days to give them a decent start before getting hit by the Texas sun.

  16. Where are you at? 

    Aumsville is the first town east of Salem on Hwy 22.

    I grew up in Oakland, Oregon, just north of Roseburg.

  17. ah, okay. i know where abouts you are then. i'm down near the grants pass area.

  18. I Started old GERMAN TOM SEEDS IN A PLASIC HOT HOUSE , The stems never thicken, Plants grew, fell over, what to do.

  19. I have one of these plants in a very large pot on my deck. It’s getting huge and tomatoes are coming on. Question: why are they starting to turn brown/rot? They are only about the size of a half dollar. I cannot click on the box to publish!!

  20. I just finished 3 tomato sandwiches using a single Old German … and I'm full … and I'm happy. If I had only these tomatoes to eat every day the rest of my life, I'd stay happy. The world is diverse, and there are a lot of other very delicious varieties out there.

    While I was eating those sandwiches, I noticed how the Old German starts with a great tomato flavor while biting through the bread texture and then the tomato gives up the stage letting the mayo and other ingredients come to the front. Really, a delightful mix.

    But, there are other varieties out there, so find your favorite! Cherokee Purple gets so many good reviews … and its understandable with the complexity of flavors, I picture holding a ribbon in hand and tasting the tomato as judging for its flavor when I bite into these. But, *for my taste buds*, I claim the German Johnson and Brandywine as the ones that make all the work in the garden completely worth it. When I bit into one of those, I know that I have to keep growing tomatoes … because I have just found a treasure chest of yummy and that flavor cannot be found anywhere except right out of the garden.

    For those having problems with fruit set, here in VA, the problem more often than not is too heavy on nitrogen leading into the blossoming. We get this question about every week at the plant clinic … "My plants are huge and dark green, but the flowers keep falling off"

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