Heirloom Tomato Profile: German Johnson

Heirloom Tomato Profile: German Johnson

The German Johnson Heirloom Tomato is a potato leaf variety of tomato plant with an indeterminate growing habit.  It produces large, round, Beefsteak shaped fruit with bright red skin.  The ripe fruit commonly show bright yellow striping along its shoulders.

The German Johnson’s flesh is pink and meaty with a delicious, old-fashioned tomato flavor.  Fully ripened fruits may weigh in excess of one pound each.  It is not uncommon to harvest tomatoes that tip the scale at 24 ounces or more. In fact, the big, beautiful 23 ounce specimen in the photo above was harvested in our vegetable garden this morning.

The German Johnson is one of the parent species of the Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomato.  For me, that is reason enough to include it in the heirloom tomato garden at 1840 Farm.  One bite and I think you’ll agree that the German Johnson is a delicious slicing tomato that transforms the ordinary sandwich into an extraordinary meal.





  1. A gorgeous tomato, Jennifer!

    Our cherry tomatoes did pretty well this summer, but the Celebrities did not. Maybe next year.

    Thanks so much for sharing this scrumptious treat with us at Your Sunday Best.

  2. That is beautiful. Our weather the past few summers has been too warm for growing tomatoes. We had a few this past season and were able to get in a relatively decent crop (for slicing only not enough for canning) before the spider mites got to them. I’ve really enjoyed your heirloom tomato profiles.

    1. Author

      I’m so sorry to hear that you had a difficult tomato season. We’ve been fortunate this year with a bountiful harvest. Here’s hoping that we both have great harvests next season. Until then, I’ll be sharing more heirloom tomato profiles of our favorite varieties – stay tuned!

  3. Hi, from Wisconsin – I have grown the German Johnson for the past 3 years and they have never failed to produce a large crop of fruit. My only problem is finding stakes tall enough to support them because they grow several feet above the top of the tomato cage. This is by far my favorite tomato!

    1. Author

      They are a vigorous plant. I have found that 6′ tall bamboo stakes work well in our garden. They are much taller than tomato cages and using two or three to create a structure for the vines works well. I also find that trimming the indeterminate tomato varieties actually leads to more ripe fruit during our painfully short growing season. Enjoy your tomato harvest!

    2. I grow big heirlooms too. Go to the lumber section of the warehouse stores, not gardening, and buy 8-10 foot by as small as you can find white wood, usually 8by3. I pay $3 per stake. I get untreated white wood, but the modern treatments which use copper instead of arsenic (since 2003) are reported to be safe for garden use if you can’t find untreated boards. I use 54″ cages and weave the stakes through the cage.

      1. Author

        That’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing. This should come in handy for those extra large heirloom tomato varieties!

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