Growing beefsteak tomatoes

Published: 17th September 2008
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There is absolutely nothing better than a fresh tomato out of your garden. You start by planting a beefsteak tomato plant and nurture it daily with fertilizer, water and weeding. Finally, you notice the hint of a small fruit on the plant. The days seem endless as you check the plants daily for signs of red, finally after the long wait; there it is the ripe, red delicious beefsteak. Even after the first ten tomatoes, each one is still a marvel.

The growing season of the beefsteak tomato is about 85 days to the first harvest. These hefty delicious globes continue to produce from late summer until the first heavy frost. Covering the tomatoes with thick amounts of leaves in the fall allow you to extend the growing season.

You can grow your own seedlings or purchase them at the store. If your garden is large, a makeshift greenhouse in the basement of your home is far more economical. Purchase an inexpensive shop light and put a grow light instead of florescent bulb into the light. Follow the directions on the package for planting. It's best to use a small plastic starter container for large numbers of plants. Use a good planting soil created for starting seed. Make sure you have adequate drainage.

Before you plant the tomatoes, make sure that the soil has adequate fertilizer. Add a good nitrogen rich fertilizer after you till the ground and then lightly turn the soil once more. Adding compost to the soil is a good idea if the soil is hard clay or sandy.

Plant the seedlings outside after the danger of frost is past. Plant them four to six feet apart. If they are too close, there is a potential for water borne fungal diseases like fusarium and verticillim wilt, that turn the leaves yellow and brown. You'll need to plant the beefsteak tomato seedlings an inch or two deeper than they were in the container. Remove any lower leaves if necessary. This encourages a healthier root system. If your soil is low in calcium, add some before planting beefsteak tomatoes. This deters blossom end rot, those black spots at the bottom of the tomato.

Several types of pests attack tomatoes at different points and do different types of damage. Some pests attack the leaves or bore into either the fruit or buds. Tomato fruitworm, tobacco budworm, tomato pinworm and vegetable leafminer are these types of pests. Pests that chew both holes in leaves and fruits are blister beetles, cabbage loopers, Colorado potato beetles, flea beetles and hornworms. Sapsuckers, which cause fruit to deform, and defoliation are aphids, thrips and greenhouse whiteflies. Cutworms and Southern potato wireworms feed on the lower stems and roots.

When you have planted beefsteak tomatoes, expect the tomatoes to start ripening all at once. you can't use them all, you can freeze them whole. Simply wash, core the center and put into a freezer bag. When you're ready to use them, rinse them under warm water and pull off the outer skin. These tomatoes aren't good for salads but great in cooked dishes. If you expect a frost before the end of harvest, bring the green tomatoes indoors and wrap them in newspaper. Store these in a cool area and allow them to slowly ripen.

Tracy Ballisager provide info on gardening. See her website for tips on tomato growing Tomato Plant Diseases.html

To read more on gardening tips go to gardening help

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