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The Better Boy Tomato

If you’re in search of tomato plants that yield consistently excellent, smooth-skinned fruits, the Better Boy tomato may be just what you’re looking for. One thing we love about this tomato is that it thrives in all types of climates. The Better Boy even set a Guinness World Record when a single plant produced more than 340 pounds of tomatoes.

You may not set your own world record of heavy yields, but if you’re looking for a hardworking tomato plant to add to your garden, you will enjoy several pounds of fruit from the Better Boy.

Closeup of red tomatoes on vine similar to Better Boy Tomatoes

History of the Better Boy Tomato

The Better Boy tomato plant was cultivated more than 50 years ago and is noted for a flavor that is superior to many other tomato varieties. This prolific tomato plant was bred to be an improved version of another popular tomato plant, the Big Boy tomato. The Big Boy tomato plant was the first hybrid tomato created by the W. Atlas Burpee Seed Company.

The Better Boy plant is also crossed with the Teddy Jones tomato and was created by the Petoseed company (now Seminis Seeds).

While the Better Boy has the same large fruit as the Big Boy tomato plant, the Better Boy tomato is more resistant to diseases than its parent plant.

Red tomatoes on the vine.

Better Boy Tomato Characteristics

The Better Boy is an excellent option for home gardeners. These plants are easy to grow and offer a high yield.

Ripening Season / Days to Maturity

Better Boy tomatoes ripen between 70 and 75 days.

Better Boy Tomato Qualities

The Better Boy tomato is meaty and deep red in color. The plants have dense foliage that helps to protect most of the fruit from sun-scald.

Better Boy Tomato Size

A Better Boy tomato plant can produce tomatoes that weigh up to one full pound, with the smaller tomatoes weighing about half a pound.

Closeup of red tomatoes on the vine.

What Does the Better Boy Tomato Taste Like?

Better Boy tomatoes have a classic tomato flavor and are flavorful and meaty with plenty of pith.

Planting Zones

Better Boy tomato plants thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-11.

Size and Spacing

Space your Better Boy tomato plants between 24-36 inches between plants. The rows between your Better Boy tomato plants should be about 48 inches between plants

The Better Boy is an indeterminate tomato variety. Indeterminate plants need to be grown either staked tepee-style or grown in tomato cages because of their large size. These tomato plants will grow to be between 5 and 8 feet tall.

Pollination

Better Boys, like all tomatoes, are self-pollinating. Just let nature take its course (bees and wind) and the job will get done!

Tomato blossoms and small green tomato fruit.

Plant Care

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!

One important thing to keep in mind when growing the Better Boy is that this tomato plant yields a lot of fruit. Because of this, make sure you stake your plants sturdily in your garden.

If you mulch your tomato plants, you can ensure that moisture is more evenly available to the plants. Mulching can also help prevent excessive weed growth.

Sunlight

Better Boy tomato plants thrive in a sunny location and need between 6 and 8 hours of direct sunlight per day in a full-sun location.

Soil

Like most tomatoes, Better Boys prefer well-drained soil that has plenty of organic matter.

Water

Most tomato varieties need minimally one inch of water every week. To water your Better Boy tomato plants, soak the soil once per week to a depth of between 6 and 10 inches. If you live in an extremely hot climate or have long dry spells, your tomato plants may need watering more often.

To more effectively water your tomato plants, we recommend using soaker hoses or a drip hose to prevent the leaves from getting wet.

Young tomato plant being watered with soaker hose.

Fertilizer

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.

Person pinching sucker off tomato plant.

Diseases

Better Boy tomato plants are disease resistant and less susceptible to problems such as fusarium wilt and verticillium wilt. To help prevent diseases, water your Better Boy plants early in the day.

Blossom End Rot

All tomatoes are susceptible to blossom end rot, but gardeners have control over this issue. To prevent blossom end rot, don’t let your soil get too dry. Also, too frequent watering can sometimes cause blossom end rot.

Flower Drop

When a flower stem turns yellow and falls off or dries up, your tomato plants are suffering from flower drop, also known as blossom drop. This occurs when the temperature is either too hot or your area experiences extremely cold temperatures. Be sure the tomato plants you grow are appropriate for your growing zone.

To learn how to detect, treat, and take steps to prevent diseases, read our tomato diseases guide.

Pests

The biggest problem with growing tomatoes is the birds that poke holes in them. To keep this from happening, you can try various techniques, including putting red ornaments in your garden, using plastic owls, covering your tomato plants with bird netting, and even putting pans of water near your tomato plants.

For information to help you spot, eliminate, and deter 15 different pests, visit our guide on common tomato pests.

When to Harvest Better Boy Tomatoes

It takes Better Boy tomato fruit between 70 and 75 days to mature. However, as soon as your tomatoes start to show color, you can harvest them. Harvesting early can help keep birds from poking holes in the tomatoes.

Closeup of red and green tomatoes on vine.

You can get your tomatoes to ripen indoors by placing them underneath sheets of newspapers, a method that is actually more effective than putting the tomatoes in a sunny window.

When there is a danger of frost, harvest your green tomatoes and put them under newspaper to ripen. You can also enjoy recipes such as fried green tomatoes or green tomato relish.

Common Uses for Better Boy Tomatoes

The best way to enjoy tomatoes is to eat the ripe fruit raw. However, tomatoes are also delicious in sauces, on pizza, and in casseroles. Better Boy tomatoes are an excellent slicer for burgers.

Cooking

There are countless ways to enjoy fresh tomato flavor. From pasta sauces to pizza, there’s no shortage of tomato recipes you can find online.

Eating Raw

With Better Boy tomatoes, you can count on excellent large slicing tomatoes that are delicious when eaten raw.

BLT sandwich.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

To preserve Better Boy tomatoes, use the same guidelines you would use to can, freeze, and dry any flavorful tomato varieties.

Tomatoes can be canned using the water bath canning method. For drying, you can use a dehydrator or dry your tomatoes in the oven.

Note that freezing isn’t the best way to preserve tomatoes because the high water content in tomatoes causes them to break down during the freezing process. If you freeze your tomatoes, you can use the frozen tomatoes in soups and sauces.

Jars of homemade tomato sauce.

Recipe Ideas

A web search netted us some comprehensive articles with hundreds of tomato recipes. Check them out below.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

All tomatoes are nutritional powerhouses, boasting vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and folate. Also, tomatoes are an excellent source of the potent antioxidant lycopene.

Where to Buy Better Boy Tomato Seeds or Plants

Better Boy tomatoes in nursery containers.

To grow your Better Boy tomato plants from seed, buy your vegetable seeds at Nature Hills Nursery. If Nature Hills is sold out, you can also find seeds on Amazon, local nurseries, on Etsy, or other online nurseries.

Where to Buy Better Boy Tomatoes

Better Boy tomatoes aren’t commonly grown commercially, so you will need to keep your eye out for these flavorful tomatoes at farmer’s markets.

Wrapping Up the Better Boy Tomato

Red tomatoes on vine.

For home gardeners, the Better Boy tomato with excellent disease resistance is a clear winner for harvesting abundant harvests with large and flavorful 1-pound slicers. Have you grown Better Boy tomato plants? Share your experience in the comments.

To read about other tasty tomatoes, click here for our other tomato blog posts.