How to Grow Beef Tomatoes

Overview

The beef, or beefsteak, tomato is a large tomato plant that produces large, heavy tomatoes. It is available in both the indeterminate type which grows into a large vine that requires staking, or a determinate, or bush, type. The beefsteak tomato is prized for its large size and taste. Beefsteak tomatoes are not always available in stores because they are difficult to ship and process due to their large size and plump texture.

Step 1

Test your soil to find out amendments that need to be added to the soil for tomato plants to thrive. The best way to test your soil is to contact your local County Agricultural Extension Office for assistance with the testing process.

Step 2

Locate an area of the garden for planting your beef tomato plants. Tomato plants prefer full sun---more than six hours of direct sunlight each day. Although tomato plants can be started from seed indoors in early spring, they cannot be planted outside until all danger of frost has passed unless given protection from freezing temperatures. Consult a NOAA frost/freeze map to find your first and last average frost dates.

Step 3

Clear the area of all weeds and use a shovel or a tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 6 inches. Add the recommended amendments to the soil at the recommended rates. Spread a 1-inch layer of compost over the soil. Work the amendments and compost into the top 3 inches of soil with a hoe, and rake the area smooth.

Step 4

Plant beef tomato plants 36 inches apart. Plant tomato plants with 80 percent of the stem under the soil. To do this, plant the tomato plants at an angle with the root base no deeper than 6 inches from the top of the planting hole. Remove any leaves that are below the soil line. Only the top bunch of leaves should be left. The plant will form roots along the buried stem and result in a stronger plant. Add water to the newly planted plants to avoid transplant shock and form a good soil seal around the roots.

Step 5

Add a stake or other support to the plant soon after the plants are planted into the ground so you know where the roots are. Adding the stakes or supports later may damage the roots around the growing tomato plants.

Step 6

Allow the plants to grow and keep the soil around the plants moist but not wet. Do not allow the soil to completely dry out. Pinch off the first cluster of yellow blooms that form. When the second cluster of blooms form, remove all leaves under that bloom cluster. This keep pests from moving from the soil to the plant and encourages larger tomatoes to form. Gently and loosely tie the plants to the support stake with plastic garden tape or strips of cloth.

Step 7

Fertilize with a fertilizer listed specifically for tomatoes; several brands have "tomato fertilizer" on the label. Most of them have a higher level of phosphorous and potassium than nitrogen to encourage root formation and strong cellular walls in the fruit rather than lush top growth. Apply the recommended amount of the fertilizer at the recommended time; adding more may damage the root system of the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test results
  • Required soil amendments
  • Beefsteak tomato plants
  • Shovel
  • Hoe
  • Compost
  • Rake
  • Tomato stakes
  • Plastic garden tape
  • Tomato fertilizer

References

  • Gardening-tips-idea.com: Some Tips for Growing Beefsteak Tomatoes
  • Purdue Horticultural: Tomatoes
  • Virginia Cooperative: Tomatoes
  • Vegetable-gardening-gnomes.com: Tomato Fertilizer for Tasty Tomatoes

Who Can Help

  • USDA: Cooperative Extension System Offices
  • NOAA: Freeze/Frost map
Keywords: growing tomatoes, beef tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.