Early Girl Tomato vs. Better Boy Tomato

Written by Em Casalena
Published: November 15, 2022
© knelson20/Shutterstock.com
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The Early Girl tomato and the Better Boy tomato are but two of over 10,000 varieties of tomatoes. Tomatoes, one of the most common plants found in home gardens, are easy to grow and can yield some seriously tasty fruit. But with so many varieties to choose from, it might be difficult to pick the right plant for your garden.

The Early Girl tomato and the Better Boy tomato are indeterminate hybrids, but they have quite a few differences that are worth knowing about. Let’s break down the differences between these delicious tomato hybrids so you can make a more informed decision about the variety of tomato you’ll plant.

Comparing Early Girl Tomato to Better Boy Tomato

Early Girl TomatoBetter Boy Tomato
ClassificationSolanum lycopersicum ‘Early Girl’Solanum lycopersicum ‘Better Boy’
Alternative NamesN/AN/A
OriginFrance, United StatesUnited States
DescriptionOne of the first indeterminate hybrids of the original tomato plant.A hybrid tomato plant that produces large fruit with a crisp, juicy texture.
UsesUsed as a slicing tomato, but is also popular in salads.Used for everything from salsas to sauces to slicing to salads.
Growth TipsKeep the soil moist and only water at the roots. Use good supports, as this variety has heavy yields.Not well-suited to containers, as the fruits of this plant are extremely heavy.
Interesting FeaturesIs often the first tomato of the season and can continue producing fruits until your zone’s initial frost.Highly resistant to diseases and wilting.

Early Girl Tomato vs. Better Boy Tomato: Key Differences

Early Girl and Better Boy tomatoes are very similar. They are indeterminate hybrids of the original heirloom tomato, and have very similar growth characteristics and care requirements. Early Girl and Better Boy are used for slicing tomatoes and both bear very tasty fruits. However, there are a few key differences between the two.

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The Early Girl tomato can be harvested much earlier than the Better Boy, hence its name. However, the Better Boy tomato can yield much larger fruits than the Early Girl, with particularly healthy fruits weighing in at up to 1 pound!

Also notable, is the difference in the flavor of these two plants. Early Girl tomatoes have a very mind, classic taste with an excellent balance between acidity and sweetness. They are also crispy, though not as crispy as some other varieties. Better Boy tomatoes tend to be much juicier, (a common characteristic of larger tomatoes), with classic tomato flavor.

Early Girl Tomato vs. Better Boy Tomato: Classification

Both Early Girl tomatoes and Better Boy tomatoes are classified as solanum lycopersicum. They are part of the genus solanum, Which also includes the potato and eggplant. Early Girl and Better Boy tomatoes are indeterminate hybrids that produce excellent fruit yields.

Early Girl Tomato vs. Better Boy Tomato: Description

The Early Girl moniker refers to this hybrid’s habit of producing the earliest fresh tomatoes of the season. Early Girl produces an abundance of fruit with an early harvest, and because the vines are indeterminate, they continue to bear fruit all summer long. Many gardeners re-plant Early Girls in the late summer, taking advantage of the plant’s shorter fruiting time, and producing a sizable new crop of fall tomatoes. Early Girl tomato plants may grow up to 4 feet tall, and produce fruit that can weight up to 1/2 pound.

dry farmed early girl tomatoes at the sf farmer's market
Early Girl tomato plants may grow up to 4 feet tall, and produce fruit that can weight up to 1/2 pound.


Better Boy hybrid tomatoes bear huge, smooth-skinned, abundant fruit. As a result, Better Boy has become one of the most widely produced tomatoes in the US. The fruit has a delicious, traditional tomato flavor that is perfectly balanced with sugar and acid. This tomato is excellent for slicing, dicing, or pureeing, its versatility making it one of America’s favorites. Better Boy tomatoes can weigh up to 16 ounces and grow on plants that reach up to 4 feet in height.

Full frame of one bright red-orange Better Boy tomato on a green vine, against a dark background.
Better Boy tomatoes can weigh up to 16 ounces and grow on plants that reach up to 4 feet in height.

©Liz Weber/Shutterstock.com

Early Girl Tomato vs. Better Boy Tomato: Uses

Tomatoes from the Early Girl variety are used in food preparation. Early Girl slices can be put on sandwiches, salads, or bagels. The sweet flavor of this early season tomato also makes a delicious soup or sauce.

Better Boy tomatoes can be used for slicing, freezing, canning, and sauces. This tomato is a superb all-purpose variety, making it a good choice for the home garden. The fruit of the Better Boy is crisp and flavorful and have few seeds. This versatile variety is an excellent salad topping and sandwich tomato. Better Boys are perfect in sauces, salsas, or as stew ingredients. Less bitter than the majority of other types of tomatoes, even when green, they fried or pickle well.

High slices of green tomato coated in corn meal, frying  in oil in a cast iron skillet odn a gas stove.
Less bitter than the majority of other types of tomatoes, even when green, Better Boys fried or pickle well.

©Zigzag Mountain Art/Shutterstock.com

Early Girl Tomato vs. Better Boy Tomato: Origin

Early Girl, a short-season hybrid tomato created in France, was first sold in the United States in the early 1970s by PetoSeed Company. Petoseed Board member Joe Howland gave the variety its moniker to go along with PetoSeed’s already well-known Better Boy tomato.

John Peto, prior to founding his eponymous company, allegedly took some heirloom tomatoes seeds with him when he left the already established Burpee seed company in the 1940s. Those pilfered seeds were cultivated into what we know today as the Better Boy

Early Girl Tomato vs. Better Boy Tomato: How to Grow

Early Girl tomatoes require a stake or cage to keep their fruits and vines the ground. Though they don’t produce huge fruits, they produce a lot of fruit. The Early Girl tomato plant will provide you with an abundance of luscious fruits when grown in soil that is rich in nutrients, receives adequate pruning, and lots of sunlight. The Early Girl tomato prefers full light, so plant it where it can get plenty of sun for optimum flowering and fruit development. These tomatoes grow quickly, and nutrient-rich soil aids their quick development. Water Early Girl plants at their base, amply wetting their roots when the soil becomes dry. These drought resistant plants are a fantastic option for gardening in arid climates since they can yield highly tasty fruit with less water.

Plant Better Boy tomatoes 3 feet apart, to help prevent disease and guarantee that each plant has enough space to thrive without being crowded. Trim off the bottom two sets of leaves before planting, digging a deep trench, and burying the plant up to the first set of leaves.

Because tomatoes may form roots along their lower stem, planting them deeply results in a robust root system and a robust, sturdy plant. This variety grows so large that it requires staking, caging, or some other type of plant support. Spreading a layer of mulch round the base of the plants will aid in the soil’s ability to retain moisture. Planting Better Boy tomatoes in full light results in an abundance of fruit. Better Boy tomatoes can grow in soil that is suitable for a variety of tomato, but the healthiest plants will come from slightly acidic, nutrient-rich soil that is high in organic matter.

Early Girl Tomato vs. Better Boy Tomato: Special Features

The earliest tomatoes to harvest of the all of hybrid tomato varieties, Early Girls are immune to fusarium and verticillium wilt. Early Girl tomatoes are harvested throughout the summer and into the fall.

The Better Boy tomato has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, as one single plant produced a whopping 342 pounds of fruit, earning it a place in record-setting infamy. Better Boy tomato vines are also resistant to verticillium and fusarium wilt.

As luck would have it, you don’t have to choose between these two excellent tomato varieties. They grow well together in the same garden, and each one can offer its own benefits. If you want a tomato that you can harvest early but also want some massive fruits to harvest later on in the season, your best bet is to plant both Early Girl and Better Boy tomatoes.

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The Featured Image

Close up of five early girls tomatoes to fairly ripe orange. to barely orange, and one unripe green tomato , still attached to the deep green vine, against a background of green out of focus tomato vines.
© knelson20/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I'm a lover of all things sustainability, from urban farming to not killing houseplants. I love carnivorous plants, indigenous crops, and air-cleansing indoor plants. My area of expertise lies in urban farming and conscious living. A proud Southwest Institute of Healing Arts graduate and certified Urban Farming instructor.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the difference between early girl tomatoes and better boy tomatoes?

There are a few differences between these tomato varieties, but the main difference is that early girl tomatoes are a bit bigger than better boy tomatoes.

What do early girl tomatoes taste like?

Early girl tomatoes are known for being very sweet in flavor.

What are better boy tomatoes used for?

Better boy tomatoes are used primarily as a slicing tomato, making them ideal for sandwiches and burgers.

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  1. thespruce, Available here: https://www.thespruce.com/early-girl-tomatoes-profile-5186532
  2. thespruce, Available here: https://www.thespruce.com/better-boy-tomatoes-profile-5186926