Short Season Tomatoes
Posted on 27 July 2020
If you live in a short season climate with early frosts, rather than growing tomatoes that have a long growing season, it's best to pick short season tomatoes so that you'll get your harvest before the cold weather arrives in autumn.
The tomato is a tender plant that is easily damaged by cold weather and frosts, so if you live in an area with shorter seasons (late and early snowstorms and frosts) it's best to grow tomato varieties that grow and ripen quickly.
We have picked out our favorite short season tomato seeds below so you can get a head start on the season and get lots of red tomatoes before the first frost. Growing tomatoes that harvest in under 75 days can really make a difference! Here are our favorite short season tomatoes:
The delicious Glacier Tomato, above, has outstanding flavor and has higher-than-average yields of reddish-orange tomatoes that are perfect for short seasons, being ready to harvest in just 56-63 days! This is one of our fastest growing short season tomatoes, and it also is more cold-tolerant than other varieties.
Another one of our Short Season Tomatoes, the Isis Candy Tomato, is a great open-pollinated heirloom tomato that produces precious little little 1-1/2" morsels of red and gold garden candy in just 67 days! Deliciously sweet and fruity, this tomato will be one of your favorites in the garden!
Another one of our favorite short season tomatoes is the Berkeley Tie-Dye Tomato. Surprisingly, this large beefsteak tomato with beautiful metallic green stripes may not only be one of the prettiest tomatoes you can grow, it is also great for short season gardens! The flesh is pink with yellow streaks and the flavor is outstanding - sweet, rich, dark heirloom tomato flavor. Despite it's large size, these tomatoes are ready for harvest in just 65-75 days (compare that to other beefsteaks which usually range around 80-90 days for harvest.)
The Black Prince Tomato is another short season tomato, ripening in 70 days. This open-pollinated heirloom tomato is juicy with amazing rich, fruity flavor and packed with nutrition! This fast-growing tomato is regarded as a true northern variety and has excellent growing qualities suited for cooler climates and short growing seasons. Great for patio gardens and container gardens!
Chocolate Cherry Tomato
Start eating these beauties in just 65 days! Red smooth 3" plum shaped fruits produce well the entire season. It is tart and juicy making it a fantastic salad tomato. A truly black cherry tomato that is sweet, delicious and irresistible. The Chocolate Cherry tomatoes pick easily from the stem and are produced in abundance on tall plants.
The hybrid Bush Early Girl Tomato is another great short season tomato, harvesting in just 59 days! Space-saving plants are compact and reliably produce abundant early yields. Very popular with home gardeners in short seasons because they're extra-early and dependable.
Chef’s Choice F1 Orange Tomato
This short season tomato is a hybrid derived from the popular heirloom Amana Orange which matures late in the season. Now you can experience the wonderful flavor of an orange heirloom tomato in only 75 days from transplant. Its disease resistance is a bonus. It’s orange throughout with a very nice fresh sweet flavor.
Garden Peach Heirloom Tomatoes
Starting at 71 days, you can eat these delicious tomatoes with their fuzzy skin – just like a peach! They are mildly sweet 2-4 oz fruits that are fun to grow and quite a novelty. In 1893 Burpee described this heirloom as “delicate, melting in the mouth like a grape.”
Pineapple Heirloom Tomato
These fast growing bi-color fruits are famous for their sweet and fruity low acid flavor. A beautiful tomato with a unique color of yellow on the outside and red streaks inside. The Pineapple tomato vines set fruit fairly early, and also ripen quickly. In mid-summer, they seemed to stop blooming, then they put on another flush of production in late summer/early fall (if the weather holds!). The fruit is very lovely when sliced, and has great flavor. One big slice of this tomato on bread with mayo makes a great summertime sandwich. They say 85 days on this tomato but we seem to get them earlier.
Red, round, 8oz tomatoes on semi-determinate vines that grow to 3-4’.
A very dependable hybrid variety that produces fruits with exceptional flavor fairly early in the season in 65 days. Fantastic disease resistance and resists cracking.
For Faster Harvests, Start Tomato Seeds Indoors!
For any of us with short growing seasons, it's good to start tomato seeds indoors early in March/April to get them growing before transplanting outdoors. Transplanting them into larger pots sooner also helps them grow – plants of the same age can be widely different in size if one is kept in smaller pot and one is in a larger pot – the more legroom they have to grow roots, the more quickly the plants will grow. Getting them into the ground once it's warmed up also helps kick-start their growing. We also like to bury them as deep as possible so they get a great root system.
Do you get a lot of green tomatoes every year?
Grow the fastest growing varieties in short season climates and you'll have more red tomatoes before the frost or snows come in the autumn. Find our top favorite varieties of fast-growing short season tomato seeds. Or, find our fastest growing peppers »
Growing the best tomato varieties for short season gardens is the way you can avoid so many green tomatoes at the end of the season! Don't worry, if you like getting a few green tomatoes, you'll still get some! But at least you'll have the bulk of your tomatoes in their prime ripeness first before the frosts or snows come for the winter.
And, when winter arrives and you have to pick a lot of green tomatoes, make Green Tomato Sauce!