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Almanac Planting Beefsteak Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)

Beefsteak Tomato

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Solanum lycopersicum

Overview

Uses: Tomato crop production—produces excellent yields 

Benefits: Cordon (produces crops all season). Produces huge 6" diameter tomatoes that have a delicious mild flavor and a meaty texture. Ideal for slicing into tomato sandwiches, salsas, and sauces. 

Zones: 3 - 9 suggested (has been known to survive in all USDA Hardiness Zones)

Sun: Full

Growth: Indeterminate (cordon)

Life Cycle: Annual

Mature Height: As high as 6' with proper staking and fertilization. 

Mature Width: 30"

Bloom Season: Summer to Early Fall

Summary

Beefsteak Tomato is, by far, the most commonly grown variety of tomato by home gardeners. 

As its name suggests, the fruit produced by Beefsteak Tomato plants is large and flesh-like. They're known to produce tomatoes as large as 6" in diameter! 

Their taste is delicious, but best described as mild. This makes them perfect for so many things as they don't overpower the food they're accompanying. Best used in sauces, salsas, sandwiches, and salads. 

Beefsteak Tomatoes have an slightly slower than average maturation rate, and should begin to produce their first harvests sometime in the middle of summer, often sustaining their production of crops until mid-fall. 

Beefsteak Tomato is an indeterminate variety of tomato, often referred to as a vine or cordon tomato. This means; unlike a determinate variety, they keep growing and producing tomatoes from the beginning of the summer until early fall (determinate varieties stop growing at a certain height, then produce all of their crop within a short time frame). 

Does not require staking or caging, although we highly suggest doing such. It grows as a vine, so unstaked plants will travel along the ground, causing their fruit to be more susceptible to rot. Beefsteak tomatoes are very large and heavy, so a strong stake or cage is suggested. 

Care

Beefsteak Tomato Plant Care

Beefsteak Tomatoes will likely tolerate temperatures above 40°F, but it's suggested to attempt to keep them in temperatures above 55°F.

Plant 36" apart.

Suggest planting late-March through May depending on temperatures in your area. Keep in temperatures above 55°F. 

Does best in temperatures between 70°F and 85°F.

Likes organic, rich soil with lots of drainage. 

Make sure to water regularly and attempt to keep soil moist but not wet. 

Give early dose of high nitrogen organic fertilizer either when planting or as a part of soil preparation.

Will benefit from a high phosphorus organic fertilizer once established, just prior to or after it begins to produce fruit. 

Suggest caging, or staking and providing something to climb, although not required. Unsupported plants will likely grow on the ground in a somewhat vine-like fashion, which will drastically increase the potential of rotting fruit. 

You'll know your Beefsteak Tomatoes are ready to harvest once they develop their hallmark deep red skin color and are firm, yet bouncy when squeezed. 

Size

Size of Beefsteak Tomatoes That You Ship

We ship our Beefsteak Tomatoes in a 4" grow pot. The plants will be ready for planting when they arrive (around 6"-8" tall), although we suggest allowing them to "bounce back" from their shipping experience for a day or two prior to replanting.

Size of Beefsteak Tomatoes When Fully Grown

Beefsteak Tomatoes often spread to a width of around 30" when staked and allowed to grow vertical. They're cordon-type growers, so their vines may grow as long as 6' long in certain situations.

Additional Information

Botanical Name of Beefsteak Tomato 

The botanical name of Beefsteak Tomato is Solanum lycopersicum.

Toxicity and Risks of Beefsteak Tomatoes

Tomato plants are actually considered toxic. They're members of the nightshade family, and produce an alkaloid called tomatine. 

This alkaloid is most present in the unripe fruit, the stem, and the leaves of a tomato plant.

Tomatine is toxic when ingested in extremely large doses, it may cause gastrointestinal problems, liver, and even heart damage.