Beefsteak tomatoes are also known as Red Ponderosa or Crimson Cushion. This heirloom variety generally produces very large, ribbed fruit on vigorous vines with high yields. Beefsteak tomatoes can ripen to around 5 inches across and have sweet, meaty flesh. They are great for eating right off of the vine, on sandwiches or in salads, cooking or even canning.
How To Grow: Plant in full sun.
Spacing: Plant 18″ apart.
Height: Grows 4′ to 5′ tall.
Outstanding Features: Very versatile fruit for cooking, canning or enjoying fresh off the vine.
Tips: Tomatoes will grow in any good garden soil that is properly drained. Good drainage is necessary to prevent “blossom-end rot”. The ground should be tilled deeply before the tomatoes are planted. The soil should also be enriched with compost, leaf mold, peat moss or commercial humus. Manure can be used, if at all, with caution. Set plants out after danger from frost has passed and plant them a bit deeper than what they were growing in their containers. If your plants are a bit spindly, plant them on their sides and cover with dirt up to their first leaves. Roots will grow along the buried stem and produce sturdier plants. To avoid wilts and other serious problems, rotate tomatoes and other related vegetables (peppers, tomatoes, eggplants) with non-related vegetables such as legumes and cucurbits (squash, cucumbers). Check out plant tags to see what a tomato variety is resistant to. Look for the designations V (resists verticillium wilt), F or FF (fusarium wilt), N (nematodes), T (tobacco mosaic virus) and A (alternaria). In addition, look for number of days until harvest (DTH) and the terms determinate and indeterminate. Determinate types (D) grow to a certain height and stop. Indeterminate types (I) continue to grow and bear fruit over a longer period of time.
*Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow, set fruit, and ripen continuously until a frost arrives. Also known as vining types, they require staking or other support.
Picture © 2016 Ball Horticultural Company