It is said there are two things money can’t buy: true love and homegrown beefsteak tomatoes.
The love you must leave to chance, but the prized, giant tomatoes . . . well . . . those you can grow this summer.
Beefsteak-type tomatoes are big. The Guinness Book of World Records mentioned the largest at 7 pounds 12 ounces, the size of a honeydew melon.
It was grown in 1986 by Gordon Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma.
Although the giant tomatoes you grow may not be as hefty as Graham’s, chances are they’ll weigh from 1 to 2 pounds, and their slices will reach beyond the boundaries of your sandwich.
The only way to grow tomatoes this large is to choose a beefsteak variety. The term “beefsteak” generally characterizes this class of giant tomatoes, but there is also a variety with the proper name “Beefsteak.”
Other big selections to note include Beefmaster, Bragger, Ponderosa, Delicious, and
You’ll Need To Start Now.
Although you can start tomatoes from seed sown directly in the garden, the easiest way to start is by setting out transplants.
If you can’t find them at a garden center, you’ll need to grow your own in small pots or a flat filled with sterile seed starting mix. Cap the seeds with 1/8 inch of soil and keep the containers in bright light.
Once all peril of frost has passed, you can set the little plants out in the garden. Fertilize with a slow-release vegetable food when planting.
Because beefsteaks are so large, you must provide proper support for the stems holding the fruit, or they can snap in wind and rain.
This is easily done by tying each stem to a stake or the side of a wire cage near the point where it supports a tomato.
You also must keep the soil evenly moist. The extra-large fruits are more susceptible to cracking than standard-size varieties, so water faithfully when the soil is dry.
Most beefsteak varieties will mature in 10 to 12 weeks. If you plant soon, you can begin enjoying your tomatoes in time to celebrate the Fourth of July.
If you are considering growing big beefsteak tomatoes, try growing Beefmaster tomatoes. Beefmaster tomato plants produce huge tomatoes, up to 2 pounds (just under a kg.)!
Beefmaster Hybrid tomatoes are vining tomatoes that are prolific producers.
Beefmaster Tomato Info
There are around 13 species of wild tomato plants and hundreds of hybrids. Hybrids are created to breed selected traits into a tomato.
Such is the case with Beefmaster combinations (Lycopersicon esculentum var. Beefmaster), wherein the plant was bred to produce larger, meatier, and disease-resistant tomatoes.
Beefmasters are categorized as F1 hybrids, which means they have been cross-bred from two distinct “pure” tomatoes.
Why is this important to you because the first-generation hybrid should have better vigor and produce larger yields?
Still, if you save seeds, the successive years’ fruit will likely be unrecognizable from the previous one?
As mentioned, Beefmaster tomato plants are undefined (vining) tomatoes. That means that they prefer lots of staking and pruning of tomato suckers as they grow vertically.
The plants give solid, meaty tomatoes and are productive yielders. This variety of tomato hybrid is impervious to verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, and root-knot nematodes.
They also possess a good tolerance against cracking and splitting.
How to Grow Beefmaster Plants
Cultivating Beefmaster tomatoes is relatively easy via seed, or this hybrid may frequently be located as seedlings at nurseries.
You can start seed inside 5-6 weeks before the last frost date for your area or plant seedlings after all frost has passed.
For transplants, space seedlings 2-2 ½ feet (61-76 cm.) apart. Beefsteak tomatoes have a reasonably long growing season, 80 days, so if you live in a cooler region, set the plants out early but be sure to protect them from the cold.
Breaking The Record
Gardeners out to break records should start with varieties notorious for big fruits.
They may not always be the best tasting, but they grow big. He suggests planting beefsteak variety for the largest, heaviest tomato, including Giant Belgium, Beefmaster, Bragger, Oxheart, and Mortgage Lifter.
We expect that the tomato record will soon be broken, and here are few hints to tip the scale in your favor:
– Build the ideal soil with liberal additions of organic matter.
– Start the plants in early spring for a long season of growth.
– Set out only the biggest, healthiest transplants.
– Add a small amount of fertilizer at planting.
– Feed with a liquid or granular fertilizer every two weeks.
– Keep the soil mulched and moist.
A vigorous but stocky tomato plant will be the best fruit producer. Warning to the gardeners not to sucker or prune away the foliage.
Each leaf is a food manufacturing center that feeds the fruits. Allow only two or three tomatoes per plant.
The first fruits formed will likely grow the biggest. Select the best and prune out the others, plus all future flower clusters.
When you have a whopper of tomato or any other vegetable, call your county extension agent before harvesting.
The growing location of the vegetable must be verified. The agent will also take needed measurements and section the fruit to ensure it has not been altered.
A picture of the vegetable is also required to be a record holder.