Juicy, meaty, and delicious, beefsteak tomatoes are among the most hearty of all tomatoes and make for the ideal tomatoes for sandwiches and burgers. The thick and fleshy beefsteak is the largest of all varieties of tomatoes.
However, there are a few things you need to know to grow the plumpest and juiciest beefsteak, and in this guide, we’ll tell you everything you’ll need to be successful.
The Best Beefsteak Tomato Varieties
Now, if you’re new to tomato growing, it might be surprising to learn that there are many sub-varieties within some varieties, such as beefsteak tomatoes. Here’s a list of just a few of the different types of beefsteak tomatoes you can grow:
- Pink Beefsteak
- Big Beef
- Bucking Bronco
- Beefsteak VFN
- Beefmaster VFN
- Brandywine (pink heirloom)
- Cherokee Purple
- Mortgage Lifter
- Black Krim
Beefsteak tomatoes are known for their meaty bodies and numerous seeds. Here’s a list of some of their characteristics:
- Large size.
- Meaty texture.
- Classic tomato flavor with a slightly sweet taste depending on the variety.
- Heavy weighing up to four pounds.
- Color range from pink, red, to orange.
- Most have a smooth shape, but several ribbed varieties like Coustralee and Red Ponderosa.
As for the plant itself: indeterminate and determinate.
Determinate tomatoes will bloom, then set fruit at almost all at once before they decline. The plant’s blossoms appear at the end of their shoots, stopping the growth and determining their final length.
Meanwhile, indeterminate plants will continue growing and producing tomatoes all summer because they flower along with their vines instead of at the ends.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamins C and A and are packed with healthy fiber. Vine and field summer tomatoes have higher concentrations of vitamin C than those grown in a greenhouse during the fall and winter seasons. And fresh raw tomatoes will always have more vitamin C before they are canned or cooked.
Tomatoes also contain an antioxidant compound called lycopene, which is said to help protect against heart disease and cancer.
How to Plant Beefsteak Tomatoes
Growing the perfect beefsteak tomatoes takes a single long season. It’s recommended that you start your plant indoors for the first six weeks before you plant them outdoors. The best time to start is a week or two, just after spring’s final frost.
For the best results, begin sowing your seeds a half-inch deep in a well-drained soil-less mix. You also want to ensure the environment is at room temperature.
Once you transplant your beefsteak sees to your garden, make sure the soil is warm. The ideal soil’s temperature should be between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The benefit of warm soil is a faster rate of germination.
If planting more than one beefsteak, ensure they are spaced at least five feet apart to ensure good air circulation. Also, due to the size and growth of this variety, you want to ensure you have very sturdy cages. Since beefsteak tomatoes are mostly indeterminate, you’ll need to prune auxiliary shoots, which will promote better branching.
The soil’s pH level should be between 6.0 and 6.8. Tomatoes grow best in slightly acidic soil.
Before germination, you also need to maintain your soil’s moisture but don’t overwater and make it too soggy. Water your soil moderately as soon as you notice seedlings breaking through.
With Beefsteaks, much like other varieties of tomatoes, you want to plant in soil that’s well-drained and rich in organic matter. You can use clays and fertile loams in your soil to produce better tomato yields. However, lighter soils that will drain and heat up faster are the way to go if you want to harvest faster.
Having the best soil is by far the most critical element. Once the first flowers bloom, you should side-fertilize using an even mixture (10-10-10). You should also use compost tea or compost.
As your crops mature, fertilize with one pound per 100 square feet every three weeks using an organic blend that’s rich in the following substances:
- Nitrogen (moderate levels)
Another tip for inground growers is turning the soil and mixing in mulch such as winter cover crops or straw. Doing this will ensure the soil remains loose, allowing the beefsteak plant to breathe. This will alleviate a lot of issues connected with growing beefsteak.
The ideal soil is rich and loose, and fresh, meaning the soil had not been used to grow tomatoes for at least three years.
Caring for Your Beefsteak Tomato Plants
The following sections will provide highlights about tomato care. For a complete guide on optimal tomato plant care, from planting to harvesting and storage, please check out our article on How To Grow Tomatoes: The Complete Guide For the Best Tomatoes. You may also be interested in our blog post on how to grow big tomatoes!
When it comes to temperatures, your beefsteak tomatoes can not tolerate cold temperatures, which can deform your fruits. This effect is known as catfacing, and you can avoid it by ensuring that you plant only in warm soil after the last frost of spring.
Another tip is to ensure the soil nearly reaches the plant’s lower leaves when transplanting to the outside. Beefsteak crops grow better when planted deeper outdoors compared to the depth used in a container.
Also, avoid growing members of the Brassicaceae family next to your tomatoes. A few examples include:
Other plants to avoid are corn, potatoes, and fennel herbs.
Fertilizing / Feeding
Tomatoes require specific nutrients (such as calcium) to produce their best crops of fruit. To learn how to determine what your tomatoes need and when they need it, consult our ultimate tomato fertilizer guide.
Pruning / Pinching
Pruning and pinching are a tomato care technique that can help your tomato put forth its best yield. But you need to know when to do this and what tomatoes need it. To help you with this, visit our pruning tomatoes guide.
Diseases and Pests
Sad, but true — if you grow tomatoes, you’ll probably have to deal with these issues. Humid weather can trigger fungal diseases such as early and late blight. To learn how to detect, treat, and take steps to prevent diseases, read our tomato diseases guide.
Common pests that can plague beefsteak tomatoes include:
- Rodents (such as squirrels)
- Tomato hornworms
- Flea beetles
For information to help you spot, eliminate, and deter 15 different pests, visit our guide on common tomato pests.
Where To Buy Beefsteak Tomato Plants and Seeds
It’s highly likely that you’ll be able to find a variety or two of beefsteak tomato plants or seeds in local nurseries or garden centers. In the even that you aren’t, they’re widely available online.
Beefsteak Tomatoes: Final Thoughts
Planting the best beefsteak tomato crop will take more work than is the case with other tomato varieties. However, you’ll quickly find that the rewards are well worth the extra effort. The main thing to remember is that you need to monitor your crops closely, at least every other day, to watch for signs of pests or disease and take immediate action should you find any. Once your tomatoes are ready to harvest, you’ll enjoy the delicious bounty of all your hard work.
Have a useful tip about growing beefsteak tomato varieties? Share it in the comments section below!
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