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Beefsteak Tomatoes

Juicy, meaty, and delicious beefsteak tomatoes are among the most hearty 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 beefsteak tomato plants and get the plumpest and juiciest beefsteak. In in this guide, we’ll tell you everything you’ll need to be successful.

Closeup of beefsteak tomatoes ripening on a beefsteak tomato plant vine.

The Best Beefsteak Tomato Varieties

Now, if you’re new to tomato growing, it might be surprising to learn just how many varieties of beefsteak tomatoes there are. Here’s a list of some of the different types of beefsteak tomatoes – hybrids and heirlooms – you can grow:

Hybrid beefsteak tomatoes are created by cross-breeding two different tomato plants to produce a new variety with specific traits. In contrast, heirloom beefsteak tomatoes are open-pollinated and passed down through generations, resulting in a unique flavor and appearance. While hybrid tomatoes may have more consistent traits and better disease resistance, heirloom tomatoes offer a diverse range of flavors and are often grown for their historical significance.

Closeup of a Brandywine tomato, a type of beefsteak tomato.
The Brandywine is one kind of beefsteak tomato — argued by some to be the best-tasting of them all.

Beefsteak Characteristics

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, beefsteak tomato plants can be found with both indeterminate and determinate growing habits.

Determinate tomatoes will bloom, then set fruit almost immediately before they decline. The plant’s blossoms appear at the end of their shoots, stopping the growth and determining their final length.

Four beefsteak tomatoes on a table.

Meanwhile, indeterminate plants will continue growing and producing tomatoes all summer because they flower along with their vines instead of at the ends.

How to Plant Beefsteak Tomatoes

Growing the perfect beefsteak tomatoes takes a single long season. You should start your beefsteak tomato plants 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.

Overhead view of tray of beefsteak tomato seedlings.

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 tomato plants to your garden, ensure the soil is warm. The ideal soil 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 tomato plant, ensure they are spaced at least five feet apart to provide 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 must prune auxiliary shoots, promoting better branching.

Beefsteak tomato plants growing in tomato cages.

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 drain and heat up faster are the way to go if you want to harvest faster.

Hands holding composted soil.

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:

  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • 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 tomato plant to breathe. This will alleviate a lot of issues connected with growing beefsteak.

The ideal soil is rich, 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 tomato plants 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.

A beefsteak tomato suffering from catfacing.

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:

  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Radish
  • Broccoli
  • Mustard
  • Turnip
  • Cauliflower

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 tomato care techniques that can help your beefsteak tomato plant 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.

Closeup of a hand holding a very large beefsteak tomato.

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)
  • Aphids
  • 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

You’ll likely be able to find a variety or two of beefsteak tomato plants or seeds in local nurseries or garden centers. If you aren’t, they’re widely available online.

Health Benefits

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.

Pan of grilled beefsteak tomatoes.

Tomatoes also contain an antioxidant compound called lycopene, which is said to help protect against heart disease and cancer.

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 the rewards worth the extra effort. The main thing to remember is that you must 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.

Closeup of top of beefsteak tomato.

Have a useful tip about growing beefsteak tomato varieties? Share it in the comments section below!

Excited for more tomato content? Then visit our tomato page for growing tips, comprehensive guides, and tasty recipes!