How to Care for Beefsteak Tomato Plants
Beefsteak tomatoes grow as large as 1 to 2 lbs per fruit, using a single piece of several varieties large enough to cover a piece of bread. Beefsteaks are thought to be long-season tomatoes which take much longer to mature than early tomato types. The term “Beefsteak” refers to a particular cultivar, as well as other cultivars of large, flavorful slicing tomatoes with dense flesh along with multiple seed cavities. Beefsteak tomatoes are perhaps most famous for their bumpy, irregular shape, but beefsteaks may likewise be perfectly around. Special consideration must be given if growing beefsteaks since the size may actually hurt the plants.
Start seedlings inside in a soil-less potting mix 6 to 8 weeks before the daytime temperatures have been at least 70 F. Plant 2 to three seeds in each pot or mobile, place in sunlight and thin to just the healthiest plant in each pot or mobile once the plants grow two complete leaf sets. Alternatively, you can purchase transplants from a nursery just before transplanting outside.
Loosen the soil with a rototiller to a thickness of about 12 inches in a location that receives sunlight. Include about 4 inches of natural soil amendments, such as compost, sphagnum peat, manure and leaf mould, to improve drainage and soil structure, particularly in the event that you’ve got heavy clay soil.
Implement a fertilizer, such as 5-10-5 to the ground at a speed of 2 to 3 pounds for each 100 square feet of garden space. Prevent high-nitrogen fertilizers that encourage ample green leaf, but might limit flower and fruit yield. Mix the fertilizer into the soil with a rototiller.
Dig a hole that is two to three times the width of this first planting container and also deep enough to soften 1/2 to 3/4 of this transplant stem allowing enough space to get your plant to develop strong roots. Space holes 18 to 24 inches apart if planting multiple beefsteak plants. Place the plants in the hole and pack the dirt gently to eliminate air pockets.
Water the plant after planting to remove additional air pockets and water the roots. Provide 1 inch of water weekly in the lack of rainfall. You can place a stake in the ground around the plants to determine how much water to provide the plants. Additional watering may be necessary during the warm summer months when water evaporates quickly, leaving the dirt dry. You may add a 2 to 3 inch layer of mulch to the ground around plants to help retain moisture and keep the soil cooler during summer weeks.
Apply a fertilizer specifically for tomato plants, such as a 5-10-10 fertilizer, after every two to three weeks. You can add water-soluble fertilizer to the water source or sprinkle about one tbsp as a side dressing to the ground around the plants. Alternatively, you may add extra completed compost if you prefer organic gardening.
Pinch off suckers as they grow to reduce the fruit yield marginally so the plant isn’t overwhelmed with weight. These generally develop from the base of the plant or in branch crotches.
Place a tomato cage over the plants once they reach about 12 inches tall, using a sturdy wire mesh that could easily support the weight of the huge beefsteak tomatoes. To earn a sturdy 6-foot cage, drive 8-foot rebar to the ground in a walkway around the plants, then attach sections of livestock fencing panels to your posts with 16-gauge wire. Push the newest growth inside the cage when it comes out of wire grid. Alternatively, you may install the rebar and livestock panels as a straight trellis and tie the plants to the wires using soft twine.
Create a sling to support the tomatoes. Cut a long strip of a stretchy fabric or use nylon pantyhose. Place the tomato on the fabric just like a sling, then tie the ends to the cage or trellis. Make sure that the sling is loose enough to allow the tomato to continue growing. Without a supporting sling, the tomatoes could slip off the plants or cause the branches to hang down to the ground.
Eliminate weeds around the plants as they appear, either picking by hand or using a garden hoe to loosen the dirt and break up the weeds.
Inspect the plants regularly for insects, such as tomato hornworms, and eliminate the bugs so they do not eat the tomatoes.
Harvest the tomatoes while they’re still firm by twisting the tomato off the plants. Tomatoes could be red, green or just slightly red at harvest since they will ripen off the vine. Depending on the number, expect to wait for 70 to 85 days from planting to harvest a long-season beefsteak tomato.