Big Beef Plus Tomato
Big tomatoes, big customer favourite. The name says it all. This hybrid Italian beefsteak produces high yields of large 10-12 oz ‘beefy’ fruits that have great flavour for such a large tomato. Vigorous, indeterminate plants. Good disease resistance to common tomato diseases and produces right up until frost. Maturity 73 days from transplanting. Seed Count: Approx. 20 seeds/pkg.
Indeterminate plants are tall, require staking and produce tomatoes over a longer period of time. Instead of having one large harvest at once, they bear over a period of months. These are perfect for home gardeners who want their harvest spread out, or greenhouse growers that want tall plants to best use their space.
Tomatoes are tender plants and are very susceptible to frost damage. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Sow 2-3 seeds in 1x1 inch cells and thin to 1 plant after germination. Cover seed with 1⁄4 inches soil and provide a constant soil temperature of 21-26 degrees C. Once plants are up, a growing light is necessary or seedlings will become tall and spindly. After plants develop 1-2 sets of true leaves, transplant into 3 inches jiffy pots. Use a water soluble fertilizer every two weeks starting at half strength and increasing to full strength over 6 weeks. Seedlings benefit from waterings with Epsom salts, use 1 Tbsp of Epsom salts per gallon. Transplant after all danger of frost has passed. When transplanting, space 24-36 inches apart with rows at least 36-48 inches apart.
Transplant your plants individually into any 3-4 inch pots or directly into a hanging basket, large container or window box. We recommend 3-4 plugs per 8-10" hanging basket, or 6-9 plugs per 12" basket. In a mixed container do not plant too close to the edge. Keep plants at least 2-3 inches away from the container rim to prevent the roots from getting too hot or dry. Handle the plug by the root ball, never by the stem. Use a peat based soilless mix that contains perlite or vermiculite for drainage. Handle the plug by the root ball, never by the stem. Place the plant in the center of the pot and at the same depth at which it is already growing. Gently firm the soil around the new plant and water in well.
Provide lots of sunlight or artificial light. If you must place pots on your windowsills, be aware that it may get very hot on sunny days and very cold at night. Plants may dry out or get frost or heat damage. Turn containers frequently to allow plants to grow evenly. Protect plants from extreme temperature swings. Room temperature is fine. Water whenever potting mix is dry to the touch. Feed regularly with any balanced water-soluble fertilizer. It is better to feed with a weak solution every time you water (constant feed), than with a strong solution every 2 weeks. You may also use a slow release fertilizer especially for containers, such as SmartCote Hanging Basket Food. Organic alternatives would be Jolly Farmer Earthworm Castings. Removing 1-2 sets of leaves from each stem or “pinching” may help some varieties stay bushy and produce more flowers.
Gradually adjust your plants to outside conditions over a period of a week or two. First place them outside on a warm, calm day in the shade for a few hours. Work up to more sun, wind, and cooler temperatures and finally leave out overnight. Permanently place or plant them outside after your last spring frost date. Check moisture levels everyday, and water when neccesary. Continue to fertilize throughout the season. Watch out for the usual insect pests: whiteflies, aphids, thrips, and spider mites.
Full sun location, preferably with good air circulation. Soil pH of 6.0-6.5. Heavy feeders, prefer a warm, well-drained soil of good fertility and cultivation. Add plenty of compost and well-rotted manure prior to planting. Feed regularly during the growing season with a compost tea or well balanced fertilizer. Avoid excessive nitrogen, particularly before fruit set. Provide even moisture during fruit set and development. Excessive watering can increase fruit size but decrease flavour.
Pick fruit when fruit is firm and turning red. Overripe tomatoes rot quickly.
Pests & Diseases:
Protect from cutworms by using protective collars around the plant stem or place cornmeal around plant base. Blossom end rot (a brownish-black, sunken dead area that forms on the bottom of the fruit) is a condition caused by a calcium deficiency due to uneven watering. Blight, another disease common to tomatoes is caused by warm, humid conditions particularly if plants have not been given some support to keep foliage off the ground. Use copper or sulfur sprays to help prevent blight. Good air circulation along with proper rotation will help to prevent onset of this harmful disease.
Companions: Asparagus, basil, bush bean, cabbage, carrot, celery, chive, cucumber, lettuce, onion, pepper.