Beefsteak tomatoes are large, delightfully meaty tomatoes. One slice of a beefsteak can cover an entire sandwich. You may find beefsteaks at farmer's markets and roadside stands, but they are generally not found in supermarkets since they do not have the shipping or transportation characteristics necessary for commercial tomatoes. Instead, beefsteak tomatoes are a favorite type for home gardens.
Select beefsteak varieties of tomato plants. They should be tagged as "beefsteak". Some common varieties are Big Boy, Mortgage Lifter, Brandywine, Beefmaster and Celebrity, but there are dozens of varieties. Beefsteak tomatoes will be large, weighing anywhere from ten ounces to two pounds. The label should tell you the ripening time, so you will know about when to expect your first harvest.
Till or dig the soil until it is at least 12 inches deep, and work in some compost. The soil should be fine, with no large clumps. You can work the soil in the fall and add humus, and it will be easier to prepare the following spring.
Dig a deep planting hole for your beefsteak tomato plants. Gently tap the pot to loosen the plant, and slide it out. Some roots may be growing out of the bottom of the pot; keep as many with the plant as you can, but don't worry if some break off.
Set the plant into the deep hole. Spread out the roots in the bottom of the hole and carefully pinch off any leaves that are below the soil line, leaving a clean stem. Fill the hole around the tomato plant about halfway full with loose soil and water. When the water is absorbed, finish filling in around the tomato plant. Water it again. The tomato will be deeply watered this way. Tomato stems that are underground will form new roots, so this deep planting method will help set up your tomato for a productive summer.
Use a drip irrigation or soaker hose system as an efficient way to water your beefsteak tomatoes. They need lots of water, and it should be deep watering, not surface sprinkles.
Tomatoes are heavy feeders, and they respond to fertilizer. Too much nitrogen results in heavy foliage growth and few blossoms. Use an organic fertilizer with a 5-10-10 or similar ratio to promote blossoms and fruit set. Fertilize weekly.
Erect a trellis or cage for your beefsteak tomato plant. The fruits are very heavy, and you must support the vines adequately. Use strips of rags or very soft twine to tie up the vines. Inspect daily to keep the vines tied up.
Pinch out suckers, which are non-productive branches that grow at leaf nodes where a bract of leaves joins the main stem. All suckers below the first set of blossoms should be removed.
Pick off tomato hornworms and drop them into a jar of soapy water to kill them. Dust with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), or spray with insecticidal soap, both organic insecticides, to thwart other pests.