Beef Steak tomatoes are my favorite plants to grow on my home patio and if conditions are great, store bought tomatoes can not compare to the tender texture and great tasting flavor of home grown organic tomatoes.
Beefsteak tomato plants grow very fast and can produce abundantly from early spring to mid-late fall depending on the region your growing in. I live in Southern California where there is plenty of warm weather and sunshine which is ideal weather for growing tomatoes.
This particular plant thrives on demanding at least eight hours of sun and a good rich nutrient soil to produce an abundant harvest.
Indeterminate Tomato Plants
Beefsteak tomatoes plants are indeterminate which means these plants have a vine growing nature and can grow from a minimum of 6 feet or much taller so they need staking and trestles for support; especially if your plant is producing 1 pound tomatoes.
If your planting in pots keep in mind, the bigger the pot the greater the yield. Tomatoes have a vigorous root system so roots need sufficient room to grow. I would recommend at least a 5 gallon pot for good production for this type of plant.
Growing Beefsteak Tomatoes
A novice gardener will learn that there are a lot of factors to consider when growing tomatoes and there are many different methods gardeners use for growing a successful harvest. After a great deal of trial and error I have found the method that has brought me success and that success involved research.
Note: I am convinced that Beefsteak tomatoes grow best in temperatures between 60 – 80 degrees
Nutrients play an important role in garden success(growth, presentation & flavor) so research the plants you want to grow in your garden and apply sufficient nutrients that allow them to thrive.
Tomatoes plants “demand” a rich nutrient soil and if your growing tomatoes in pots over time watering will drain nutrients from the soil so it is vital to replaced nutrients throughout the plants growing cycle; so a good consistent maintenance schedule should be implemented. I have had great success using these products listed. Note: I add all nutrients to the soil when planting in pots and replenishing.
Tomato Plants & Air Flow
If condition are great, beefsteak tomato plants will be vigorous growers producing thick plant foliage which in-turn will reduce air flow through-out the plant creating a welcoming breeding ground for insect and plant disease.
Once your plant has reached mature growth and is producing tomatoes, pruning becomes necessary. A good rule of thumb to manage good air flow through-out your plant is to make sure if your standing in front of your plant you should be able to see through the plant to the other side. Tomato plants are beautiful when the foliage is green and full but not practical, its not about foliage its all about tomatoes.
Pruning foliage when your plant has matured and tomatoes begin to turn not only creates good air flow but also directs more energy and nutrients to the tomatoes. This method works great for me. Remember its all about Tomatoes!
Cloth Bags Great for Tomato Plants
I have been very successful growing tomatoes in plastic pots, but cloth bags are more ideal for growing tomatoes plants in. Cloth bags provide a wider base creating more room for roots, cloth bags allow for better air flow allowing soil to dry out faster to reduce soil wetness that may cause root rot, cloth bags do not hold heat like plastic pots do and cloth bags are cheaper than plastic pots. The only draw back of planting tomato plants in cloth bags is that you do not have drain treys.
Pruning Beefsteak Tomato Plants
Pruning tomato plants reaps benefits. Pruning is also an option. Beefsteak tomatoes are vigorous growers and if plants are doing well they will naturally produce suckers. Tomato suckers are an additional stem that will produce tomatoes but will drain nutrients from the original plant. Allowing suckers to grow will produce more tomatoes but tomatoes will be smaller as they compete for nutrients. Also, pruning helps to create air flow throughout your plant to help reduce disease and insect invasion. Pruning also allows you to better manage your plants. Suckers are simply removed with a back and forth pinch.
Growing Your Beefsteak Tomato Plant Vertically
It is vital that you train your main shoots that are producing tomatoes to grow vertically and do not let main shoots fan out. Beefsteaks tomatoes can get heavy as they continue to grow and if you allow your main shoots to fan out the weight can put great stress on your plant. So I use plant ties and twain to train the plant to grow vertically to support weight to reduce plant stress.
Note: From the base of your plant your goal should be to grow your plant on one stem. Basically you don’t want two main stems growing from the base of your plat.
Tomato Plant Disease
There are many plant diseases and fungus tomato plants can be susceptible to. Some diseases and fungus can be treated and there are some diseases and fungus that will completely destroy your plants. Listed is just a few common tomato plant fungus and disease that tomato gardeners need to be aware of. My first year of gardening I had personal experience in my patio garden with Blossom End Rot, Powdery Mildew and Early Blight. It took research to learn how to eradicate these issues in my garden and thus turn out a great harvest.
Tomato Early Blight - Spray plants once a week with an organic fungicide
Tomato Late Blight Foliar Lesions - Spray plants once a week with an organic fungicide
Verticillium Wilt - If your plant is infected with this disease, there are no viable treatment methods to save your plant. destroy it immediately to prevent affecting other plants.
Blossom End Rot- Normally a Calcium Deficiency - Bone Meal is a great source calcium tomato plants love.
Powdery Mildew- lack of air flow and high humidity- Neem Oil Spray is a great combatant against Powdery Mildew. Treat immediately.
Identifying the many types of tomato plant diseases with the naked eye may require expertise, but there are a number of resources a novice gardener can result to for help. For example: there are cool mobile apps that can help identify several tomato plant diseases and fungus by simply entering a photo of the plant affected area. Of course we know that the internet is one of the greatest sources of all to gather information on tomato plant disease.
The ultimate goal to eradicate plant diseases
- Make sure that healthy plants are being planted.
- Make sure soil is not contaminated
- Establish a consistence preventable maintenance schedule(treat plants immediately)
- Inspect plants daily for any unusual signs of possible disease, mildew or fungus; you can be quite surprised what can happen over night.
Great Tasting Tomatoes
Now that I discovered my method of growing organic beefsteak tomatoes on my home patio every season becomes routine and leads to a great tomato harvest.