The beefsteak tomato is one of the most scrumptious treats from the vegetable garden. This is very well-known in the southern states as a perfect complement to a well roasted cut of beef. Fortunately, there are ways to capture the same growing techniques of the good old south.
Here’s how you can raise great beefsteak tomatoes in the comfort of your own greenhouse or backyard garden. Growing them properly lets you get that right amount of sweetness and tanginess from the tomato.
- Soil. As one would expect, the first step to having a good vegetable garden is to prepare the soil. Beefsteak tomatoes grow best in soil that has not been planted with tomatoes or eggplants in the last three years. Crop rotation also ensures the lessening of pests and other diseases. A slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.5 to 7.0 has been known to help beefsteak tomatoes grow really well. They also demand a fairly high amount of nitrogen and potassium.
- Nitrogen and Other Additives. Nitrogen can be increased by planting nitrogen fixing plants next to the crops. Legumes have been known as champions in nutrition but did you know that they also fix nitrogen really well? Placing soybean as mulch next to the crops can raise the amount of nitrogen in the soil as well. You may also use this technique on upside down garden setups.
- Spacing. Tomatoes grow best when they are well-spaced. Rows of tomato plants should be at least five feet apart to ensure that the crops get adequate water and nutrients. Crowding can be very bad for the tomato since it promotes competition among neighboring plants! As one could imagine, this is never a good thing, because your tomatoes will not grow plump and healthy.
- Pruning. Wayward branches of the tomato plant should be pruned routinely. If there are branches that jut out of the main trunk near the root level, you would be better off cutting these off. Removing these branches would make the growth of the tomato plant more focused on the apical parts of the plant – the parts that are more predisposed to bear fruit. The extra branches are sometimes called “suckers” since they literally suck the energy and nutrients out of the tomato.
Adequate spacing as well as good support in terms of fertilizer and pesticide should take care of the pests and diseases problems, but when they do, it is important to remove the offending plants immediately to ensure that the blightpress will not spread to the other plants.
- Timing. It usually takes a couple of months to have a good batch of yummy tomatoes in your garden. Once they’re plump, take time to harvest them. Try to rotate crops once in a while to maintain the integrity of the soil.
Beefsteak tomatoes are surely a welcome addition to complete any meal with beef. Growing these right in your own garden or small patch of land in your own backyard is quite easy, with the right soil, skills and timing.