It usually takes from 55 days to 105 days for a tomato to reach maturity with many maturing at 70 days or later. Varieties that grow from plant to mature fruit within 50 to 69 days are often considered early ripening tomato varieties. Among these types are hybrid and heirloom varieties.
Early to Ripen, Early to Wane
Many determinate or compact tomatoes are early ripening varieties. These plants characteristically grow to reach a certain size, set their fruit and then begin to decline. They typically bear fruit in fewer than 70 days. The disadvantage is that many stop producing fruit early in the summer season. Many home gardeners plant large fruiting tomatoes, such as Beefsteak, as well as early varieties. The Beefsteak varieties commonly ripen late. By planting both late and early tomatoes, the gardener can enjoy a variety of tomatoes throughout the season.
Heirloom vs. Hybrid Tomatoes
Heirloom tomatoes are usually home-grown varieties seldom available in a supermarket. These tomato seeds and seedlings are available from growers including via the Internet. Unlike supermarket-sold hybrid tomatoes that withstand being harvested green, being shipped over long distances and being handled extensively, heirloom tomatoes tend to be less uniform in appearance, somewhat fragile and very flavourful. Many heirloom tomatoes are also early ripening varieties.
50 to 55 Day Tomatoes
Several heirloom tomato varieties ripen quickly. Fireworks ripens in 50 to 55 days. The fruit is bright red and unusually large for one that matures quickly, weighing from 170 to 255gr. Lime Green Salad tomatoes usually ripen in about 52 days, growing to only 18 or 20 inches in height. It adapts well to container gardening. Sophie's Choice is an heirloom tomato originating in Canada. The fruits, ripe in about 50 days, are usually in clusters of three. They are firm when ripe and weigh from about 170 to 227gr. The plants are generally small and dense, 18 inches tall and bear heavy loads of tomatoes. The plant needs support and plenty of water. Stupice, pronounced "stoo-peech-kuh" is a smallish tomato that originated in Czechoslovakia. The fruit is red, smooth and flavourful. It matures in about 52 days.
56 to 60 Day Tomatoes
Bush beefsteak, an heirloom, matures in about 60 days for an early harvest of a beefsteak-style tomato. Another, Bloody Butcher, fruits in about 58 to 60 days. The fruit is deep red, silky textured and grows abundantly for plentiful harvests.
61 to 69 Day Tomatoes
Momotaro, a hybrid, matures in about 62 days and is common at farmer's markets. It is usually sweet and juicy, with low acidity and a long shelf life. The fruits are about 170gr., bountiful and the plant is usually disease resistant. Another heirloom variety, Legend, produces in about 60 to 65 days. Its fruits are from about 14 to 16 oz., and the plants sets fruit in cooler climates. It resists late blight, another advantage in cool climates. It is used for both canning and salads.
- Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants: Early Ripening Tomatoes
- Virginia Tech; Tomatoes; Diane Relf, et al.; May 1, 2009
- University of Arizona: Tomatoes
- University of Maryland: Tomatoes; Grow It, Eat It; Jon Traunfeld, et al.; March 2010
- Clemson Cooperative Extension; Tomato; Marjan Kluepfel, et al.; June 1999