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How To Grow Beefsteak Tomatoes in A Container

Beefsteak tomatoes are one of the most popular tomatoes that can be found in gardens. These tomatoes are known for their size and flavor, with each tomato weighing between 1 and 2 pounds (450 and 900 grams). If you don’t have enough space in your garden, you can easily grow beefsteak tomatoes in a container. Continue reading to learn how to grow beefsteak tomatoes in a container.

The secret to obtaining quality beefsteak tomatoes in containers is to use a container large enough to allow the tomato roots to develop. I will also give you some tips to obtain large and juicy beefsteak tomatoes in a container. With just one of these tomato plants, you can harvest tomatoes in abundance to prepare different dishes.

Varieties Of Beefsteak Tomatoes

You can find a wide variety of beefsteak tomato seeds. Always use quality seeds for successful germination. You can also use seedlings that are certified disease-free. Here are the best beefsteak tomatoes to grow in a container.

Brandywine: This is a native beefsteak tomato variety known for its rich, sweet flavor. See our article on how to grow Brandywine tomatoes in containers.

Cherokee Purple: Another heirloom variety, the Cherokee Purple tomato is known for its deep, dark color and complex, sweet flavor.

Mortgage Lifter: This beefsteak tomato variety was originally developed by a man who sold enough of them to pay off his mortgage, hence the name. It is known for its large size and sweet, meaty flavor.

Beefsteak: This is the classic beefsteak tomato variety, known for its large size and juicy, meaty flesh. It is usually used for sandwiches and hamburgers.

Big Beef: This is a hybrid beefsteak tomato known for its disease resistance and high yield. It has a sweet and tangy flavor and is often used for slicing and salads.

Any of these beefsteak tomato varieties mentioned will thrive and grow well in a container. Use certified quality seeds to have a high germination rate.

beefsteak tomato varieties
There are many varieties of beefsteak tomatoes. Choose the one you want.

Best Container to Grow Beefsteak Tomatoes

Once the desired beefsteak tomato variety has been selected, it is time to select the right container for the tomato plant to develop properly. Using the right container is very important for the tomato roots to develop properly. I recommend using 10-gallon or larger grow bags for beefsteak tomato plants to develop properly.

If you cannot find growing bags of 10 gallons or larger, you can use plastic or terracotta containers with drainage holes. The container must have good drainage to avoid root rot in the tomato plants. You will also need to use stakes or trellis as the tomato plant grows.

I recommend using light-colored containers if you live in an area where summers are very hot. If you live in an area with cooler summers, you should use dark-colored containers. So, for growing beefsteak tomatoes in a container, you should use a large, well-drained container. The larger the container the better the tomato plant will develop.

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Soil for Beefsteak Tomatoes

You already have the beefsteak tomato seeds and the right container. Now you just need to fill the container with suitable soil. The soil to use is very important because it will be the one that will give nutrients to the tomato plant to grow and develop properly.

Beefsteak tomatoes need a soil pH between 6 and 7, with a pH of 6.5 being ideal. I recommend you read our article on how to measure soil pH to know the pH of your soil. Use a nutrient-rich mix for large, juicy tomatoes. You can add humus and eggshells to add nutrients to the soil. Finally, add mulch to promote moisture retention. I recommend you read our article about how to make a worm composting bin.

In addition to needing nutrient-rich soil, tomato plants require well-drained soil. If poorly drained soil is used, there is a risk of pests and diseases such as root rot. The University of Minnesota mentions that it is good to keep the soil pH between 6 and 7 to avoid root rot in tomato plants.

Germinating Beefsteak Tomato Seeds

In seedling trays or small containers start sowing beefsteak tomato seeds and then repot them into the final container. Start indoors a few weeks before the last frost. Fill a seed tray or small containers with the seed starting mix, leaving about 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) of space at the top.

Moisten the substrate slightly. Place one or two seeds on top of the soil in each container. Gently push the seeds into the soil, but make sure not to bury them too deep. Cover the containers with a plastic dome or plastic wrap to create a mini greenhouse. This will help to maintain humidity and warmth for germination.

Place the containers in a warm location with indirect sunlight, such as on a windowsill. The ideal temperature for germination is between 70-80 °F (21-27 °C). Once the seeds start to germinate and sprout, remove the plastic dome or wrap and place the containers in a location with bright, direct sunlight or under grow lights.

Once the beefsteak tomato seedlings have a few inches (cm) and their first leaves you can transplant them into the final container. Make sure there is no risk of frost. In the upcoming paragraph, I will elaborate on the process of hardening off Beefsteak tomato seedlings, providing guidance on ensuring their successful transplantation.

germinating beefsteak tomato seeds step by step
Use small containers or seedbeds to germinate beefsteak tomato seeds.

Hardening Off Beefsteak Tomatoes Seedlings

Hardening off your beefsteak tomato seedlings is an important step before transplanting them into a container outside. This gradual acclimatization process allows the seedlings to adjust to the outdoor conditions, reducing transplant shock.

Start by placing the seedlings in a sheltered outdoor spot for a few hours daily. Slowly increase their time outside over a week until they are staying out all day and night. Ensure they have some protection from strong winds, which can damage tender young stems.

Since strong sunlight can stress seedlings quickly, introduce them to direct sun exposure slowly at first. Provide some shade or filtered sunlight in the beginning, slowly transitioning them to brighter light.

Pay close attention to nighttime temperatures as well. If frost is expected, bring seedlings indoors or cover them to avoid damage. Hardened off properly, beefsteak tomato seedlings will thrive when transplanted into their outdoor container, with healthier, more vigorous growth.

How To Grow Beefsteak Tomatoes in A Container

You’ve nurtured your beefsteak tomato seeds from germination and successfully hardened off the seedlings. Now comes the rewarding part—growing those beefsteaks to maturity in containers.

Choose a large container: As mentioned earlier, a 10-gallon container or larger is recommended for growing beefsteak tomatoes. The container should be at least 18 inches (45 cm) deep to accommodate the plant’s deep root system.

Fill the container with soil: Use a high-quality potting mix that is rich in nutrients and has good drainage. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) of space at the top of the container to allow for watering.

Plant the seedlings: Plant one seedling per container, making sure to bury it deep enough so that the soil covers the bottom set of leaves. This will encourage the plant to develop a strong root system.

Add support: Beefsteak tomatoes need support as they grow to prevent the heavy fruit from breaking the stem.

Water regularly: Beefsteak tomatoes need consistent moisture to thrive. Water deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather conditions. Avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can lead to disease. Tomato plants in containers need to be watered more often than tomato plants grown in soil. Control soil moisture.

Use a balanced fertilizer every two weeks to provide the plant with the nutrients it needs to produce fruit. You can also add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil at the beginning of the growing season. Beefsteak tomatoes take about 80–100 days to mature. Use sharp, disinfected tools to harvest tomatoes to avoid damaging the plant.

how to grow beefsteak tomatoes in a container step by step
Once you see your beefsteak tomato plants like the ones in the picture, you can transplant them into the container.

Care Of Beefsteak Tomatoes in A Container

Beefsteak tomato plants need water and sun to develop properly. Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Tomato plants in containers need more water than those planted in the ground because water evaporates faster. Mulching will promote moisture retention and prevent weed growth.

Place the container in a location where the tomato plant receives 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. This will ensure that the plant will develop properly and provide excellent fruit. A tomato plant with little sunlight will grow very little and may bear very small fruit.

Even if your soil is rich in nutrients, you should fertilize the tomato plant every two weeks for the fruits to develop properly. You can use a 12-15-30 or 8-8-8 fertilizer. Add eggshells that provide calcium to the tomato plant. I recommend you to read our article about eggshells for plants in the garden.

To avoid pests and diseases in tomatoes, make sure that the substrate and container have good drainage. Avoid wetting the leaves of the plant when watering. You can also plant marigolds near your tomato plants that repel some pests. Finally, if some pests appear you can use neem oil as mentioned in our article on how to use neem oil on tomato plants.

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What to Plant with Beefsteak Tomatoes: Best and Worst Companion Plants

Best CompanionsBenefitsWorst CompanionsIssues
BasilEnhances flavor and repels pestsCabbage familyStunts tomato growth
ThymeAttracts beneficial insects and improves flavorFennelInhibits tomato growth
ParsleyAttracts predatory insects and improves flavorPotatoesBoth can get blight
ChivesRepels pests and improves flavor
CilantroAttracts beneficial insects and improves flavor
MarigoldsRepels nematodes and other pests
PetuniasDeters certain pests and adds color
NasturtiumsRepels aphids and attracts predatory insects
ZinniasAttracts pollinators and adds color
CalendulaDeters pests and promotes healthy growth
CarrotsBreaks up soil and provides ground cover
PeppersDeter some pests and improve flavor
AsparagusActs as a natural pest deterrent
RadishesDeter certain pests and improve soil structure
CucumbersImprove flavor and repel pests

For a detailed insight into which plants to pair with your tomatoes, I highly recommend exploring our article Tomato Companion Plants for Beginners.

Harvesting Beefsteak Tomatoes

When are beefsteak tomatoes ready to pick? Beefsteak tomatoes take 80 to 100 long summer days to reach peak ripeness on the vine. As patience is required, keep a watchful eye as not all beefsteak tomatoes from the same plant will ripen at once. Use a clean, sharp pair of shears to carefully snip ripe tomatoes off the vine. Never pull or twist ripe beefsteak tomatoes off the plant, as this risks damaging the plant itself.

Look for the vibrant red color and aromatic scent that signal a beefsteak tomato’s readiness. The tomato skin will feel firm yet yield slightly to gentle pressure when ripe. Bring tomatoes indoors at room temperature until you are ready to enjoy, or preserve them through canning, freezing, or storage in olive oil. Continuing to selectively harvest your beefsteaks as they ripen will encourage the plant to keep producing its incredible fruit right up until the first frost.

harvesting potted beefsteak tomatoes
Beefsteak tomato ready to be consumed.

Final Conclusions

Growing beefsteak tomatoes in containers is a very nice experience for those people who want to have their tomatoes and do not have enough space at home. By following all these tips, you will be able to obtain juicy and delicious beefsteak tomatoes to prepare delicious dishes.

I hope this article about how to grow beefsteak tomatoes in a container will be useful, and you will have an excellent harvest. If you are passionate about tomatoes, I recommend you to read our other article about Tomato San Marzano.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Grow Beefsteak Tomatoes in A Pot?

Yes, you can successfully grow beefsteak tomatoes in pots. Choose a large container, like a 10-gallon growing bag or larger, to allow ample room for root development. Use a quality potting mix and provide sturdy support with a tomato cage.

Is Beefsteak Tomato Determinate or Indeterminate?

Beefsteak tomatoes are indeterminate, meaning they continue to grow and produce fruit until killed by frost or disease. They can reach up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and require staking for support.

Will Beefsteak Tomatoes Ripen Off the Vine?

Yes, beefsteak tomatoes will continue ripening off the vine if left at room temperature, though flavor is best if allowed to fully ripen on the plant.

Which Beefsteak Tomatoes?

Some great varieties of beefsteak tomatoes to try growing include:
Mortgage Lifter
Big Boy
Cherokee Purple

About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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