Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables to grow. Nothing tastes better than a tomato fresh off the vine. Growing beefsteak tomatoes for fresh eating is not hard.
Quick Growing Guide for the Beefsteak Tomato
|Plant Type||Mostly indeterminate||Resistant to||varies|
|USDA Hardiness Zone||3-9||Maintenance||Moderate to High|
|Season||Summer, early fall||Soil Type||Fertile, well aerated|
|Exposure||Full Sun||Soil pH||6.2-6.8|
|Time to Maturity||Soil Drainage||Well-drained|
|Water Needs||Moderate||Companion Plants||Lettuce, basil, beets|
|Planting Depth||¼ inch deep||Don’t Plant Near||Potatoes, peppers, eggplants|
|Common Pests and Diseases||varies||Variety||varies|
What Is a Beefsteak Tomato?
A beefsteak-type tomato is a slicing tomato. Most are round, red, and have seeds distributed throughout the tomato. There are some other colors of tomatoes, such as Cherokee black, zebra, and others.
Cultivation and History
Tomatoes are native to Central and South America but were first cultivated in Mexico. They were taken to Italy by Christopher Columbus and spread over Europe from there. Now tomatoes are grown all over the world.
Characteristics of the Beefsteak Tomato
Most beefsteak tomatoes are indeterminate. There are dwarf varieties that are determinate.
Fruit Size, Color, Texture, Taste
The beefsteak tomato is generally round, red, and has a thickly fleshed tomato. It is juicy and can weigh as much as a pound.
Beefsteak-type tomatoes can be an heirloom or hybrid.
Beefsteak tomatoes vary in the amount of resistance to common tomato diseases.
Caring for the Beefsteak Tomato
Here is what beefsteak-type tomatoes need to grow big and juicy.
Beefsteak-type tomatoes need full sun. I plant them where they will get at least eight hours of sunlight a day. Because it is hot where I live, I plant my tomatoes where they get afternoon sun or use shade cloth to shade them.
Beefsteak tomatoes grow best in well-drained, fertile soil with a pH of 6.2-6.8. To get ready to plant my tomatoes, I till the soil to a depth of six inches. I spread three inches of compost on the tilled soil, then mix it well with the soil. I take soil samples for a soil test to find out what my pH is and what nutrients are available in my soil. When I get the results back, I fertilize according to the soil test recommendations. You can get soil test instructions from your Extension agent or agricultural advisor.
Planting Beefsteak Tomatoes
You can start beefsteak tomatoes from seed or transplants. For complete instructions on starting seeds and planting transplants, see my article.
When to Plant Beefsteak Tomatoes
I plant my beefsteak tomatoes when all danger of frost has passed, and the soil has warmed. I wait until the temperature is 70 degrees F.
I keep the soil evenly moist from planting my tomato plants until they die. Uneven moisture levels lead to blossom end rot. I suggest watering one inch a week until the fruit sets, then water two inches a week. If you live in a mild climate, you can water once a week until the fruit sets, then water twice a week. I live in a hot climate, so I water twice a week from the start.
Beefsteak tomatoes are warm-season plants. The air temperature should be at least 70 degrees when the plants are transplanted. Tomatoes are very sensitive to frost, and it can kill them or permanently stunt them. I wait to plant my beefsteak tomatoes until after all danger of frost is past.
When the temperature is over 90 degrees, tomatoes will bloom but not set fruit. Some people nurse their plants through until the temperature drops again, and they start producing, but I prefer to pull the plants and start again fresh in the fall with new plants.
Before transplanting your beefsteak tomato plants, prepare the soil as mentioned above. If you do not have a soil test, spread four to five pounds of 10-10-10 per 100 feet of row. If your soil has a lot of phosphorous and potassium, as mine does, spread a pound of 46-0-0 per 100 feet of row.
When the first cluster of fruit sets, you will need to start fertilizing your beefsteak tomatoes regularly. Read my article for more on fertilizing tomatoes.
Many beefsteak tomatoes are indeterminate. These plants need pruning when the first cluster of flowers appears. I remove the suckers near the soil line. I also remove the suckers that grow where branches meet the stem below the flower cluster. I leave the suckers right below the flower cluster.
Why Plant Beefsteak Tomatoes?
Beefsteak tomatoes are great for eating fresh. I eat them right off the vine or use slices of them in BLTs, on hamburgers, and on other sandwiches.
Common Beefsteak Tomato Varieties
Here are some common beefsteak tomato varieties.
- Big Boy is an indeterminate tomato that has tomatoes starting 78 days after transplant.
- Early Girl is an indeterminate tomato variety that produces tomatoes after 60 days.
- Celebrity is a determinate tomato variety that produces tomatoes after 70 days. It is an excellent tomato for beginning gardeners.
Where to Buy Beefsteak Tomatoes
You can buy beefsteak tomato plants at virtually all nurseries, big box stores, and many online vendors. Seeds are available from the same places.
Pest & Diseases
Beefsteak tomato plants are vulnerable to many diseases. You can find a complete list of known tomato diseases in my article.
There are lots of pests that like tomato plants and tomatoes. You can find them in this complete list of tomato pests.
Harvest beefsteak tomatoes when they are completely red, or the color they are supposed to be when ripe, but before they are soft. Green tomatoes that are full size can be ripened by putting them on the counter. Space the green tomatoes so they do not touch each other.
Common Uses of Beefsteak Tomato
Beefsteak tomatoes are eaten fresh. Some people eat them fresh off the vine. I slice them and eat them on hamburgers and sandwiches.
In conclusion, beefsteak tomatoes are usually indeterminate, are eaten fresh, and produce until it gets too hot or freezes. They can be grown from seeds or bought and transplanted. Beefsteak tomatoes are readily available everywhere seeds and plants are sold.