German Johnsons

Admittedly it seems an odd time of year to be blogging about tomatoes. But it’s not too early to start thinking about next summer’s gardens, and with the seed catalogs starting to arrive, I’ve been thinking about next year’s tomatoes.

Last year deer destroyed 90% of our crop, but we were very fortunate that I had planted one small patch that was easily defended. We were especially fortunate that that little garden was planted in German Johnsons.


Behold, the mighty German Johnson

Unknown in much of the country, I like to think of the German Johnson as the heirloom of our area. It is definitely the most popular heirloom here (Cherokee Purple running a distant second) and we quickly sell out of them. Like all heirlooms, they’re finicky and somewhat undependable. “Commercial” growers wouldn’t bother with them. But to us they’re indispensable tastes of summer. Sliced thick, on a piece of bread or two, with a generous helping of Duke’s mayonnaise (there is no substitute) is a summertime favorite around here. I probably eat my weight in tomato sandwiches every summer.


This was the first sandwich of last year (and not featuring a German Johnson). Once the big’uns arrived, a single slice would cover the entire piece of bread.

I’m thinking of reducing the amount of tomatoes we grow this year, concentrating on producing a high-quality crop of German Johnsons. We’ll grow some Romas as well, but I’m seriously considering growing no other varieties next year.

If any of you want to weigh in and argue the merits of some other tomato I will politely hear you out. But here theĀ German Johnson reigns supreme.