How to Grow Early Girl Tomatoes Vs. Beefsteak

Overview

Early Girl tomatoes are a popular medium-size hybrid variety that produces fruit earlier in the summer growing season. They are an indeterminate types, meaning they continue to grow and produce fruit all summer long. The Beefsteak variety includes several different cultivars, all of which produce fruits that weigh up to 2 pounds. Large tomatoes take longer to form and ripen. To encourage maximum size, a bit of pinching and pruning of the indeterminate Beefsteak types will be necessary. Other care for both types of tomatoes is identical.

Step 1

Prepare planting holes for the Early Girl or Beefsteak tomato plants in early spring. Choose an area that gets full sun and has slightly acidic soil. Dig in 1 part organic matter, such as compost or manure, to 4 parts topsoil. Dig the hole as deep as possible to allow the plants to develop extensive root systems. Planting holes that are 2 feet deep work well.

Step 2

Set one young tomato plant into each planting hole after the last spring frost. Fill the hole to within 2 inches of the surface with additional soil/compost to create a basin to hold water. Flood the basin with water after planting. Water in the same way once a week or when the plants begin to wilt.

Step 3

Stake both types of tomatoes to prevent forming fruit from touching the ground, where it might rot. Support the plants with wire tomato cages or 6-foot plastic, metal or wooden stakes driven about 18 inches into the ground on opposite sides of the plants. Tie the plants gently to the support with green nursery tape or cloth strips as they grow.

Step 4

Feed both types of tomatoes with a balanced fertilizer about one month after planting. Fertilize once a month until mid-August with a low nitrogen fertilizer, such as 0-10-10, when the plants begin to form blossoms.

Step 5

Cut suckers from Beefsteak tomatoes when you see them to encourage the plant to produce larger fruit. Suckers are the shoots that grow from the base of the plant's leaves.

Step 6

Prune suckers from the base of the plant for the Early Girl and Beefsteak tomatoes to help produce a strong main stem that the plant needs to support ripening fruit.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you suspect that any of your tomato plants might have a disease, sterilize your scissors or clippers after each cut. Mix 1 part bleach with 9 parts water in a bowl or small bucket. Dip a clean rag into the solution. Wipe the cutting blades with this mixture after every cut. Do not add diseased plant parts to a compost pile.

Things You'll Need

  • Young tomato plant(s)
  • Well-rotted manure
  • Compost
  • Acidic soil
  • Trowel
  • Tomato cages or stakes
  • Nursery tape or cloth strips
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Tomato Growers.com: Tomatoes: Beefsteaks
  • North Carolina State University: Tomato Production Practices
  • Cornell University: Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Tomatoes
  • Organic Gardening: Tomato Growing Tips

Who Can Help

  • Ed Hume Seeds: Tomato Early Girl VF Improved Hybrid
Keywords: tomatoes growing, Early Girl Beefsteak, vegetable gardening

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.