Growing and Caring for the Big Beef Tomato: A Meaty Delight for Your Garden

Do you want to grow a tomato variety that lives up to its name? Look no further than the ‘Big Beef’ tomato. In this article, we will explore what makes this tomato special and provide you with tips on how to grow it successfully in your garden.

Big beef tomato fruits
The first fruits of the ‘Big Beef’ tomato ripen from the beginning of August [Photo: JoannaTkaczuk/]

The ‘Big Beef’ Tomato: A Profile

  • Fruits: Beef tomato; red
  • Flavour: Sweet and sour
  • Ripening time: From mid-August
  • Growth: Indeterminate, up to 250cm in height
  • Location: Greenhouse, veg patch, pot outdoors

Origin and History

The ‘Big Beef F1’, also known as the big beefsteak tomato, is a hybrid variety bred by the American Colen Wyatt at Seminis Vegetable Seeds. It was developed in the 1990s, alongside other multi-resistant varieties like ‘Celebrity’ and ‘Husky Gold’. In 1994, the ‘Big Beef’ tomato won the prestigious All-American Selections Award (AAS), earning the title of the best edible vegetable variety in North America. It was specifically bred to resist five common tomato diseases.

Description and Flavour

The ‘Big Beef F1’ tomato is a robust plant that can reach heights of up to 250cm. Outdoor plants tend to be slightly smaller, around 150cm. The fruits are round to flattened, slightly ribbed, and turn bright red when fully ripe. Each tomato weighs approximately 350 to 400 grams, making it a large-fruited beef tomato. The ‘Big Beef’ tomatoes ripen in abundance from the beginning to the middle of August. With a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, their taste is a delightful treat for your palate. This variety is also resistant to two Fusarium strains, Verticillium, Alternaria, Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV), and nematode infestation.

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Sliced ripe big beef tomatoes
The ‘Big Beef’ tomato is a red beef tomato that is highly disease-resistant [Photo: Brent Hofacker/]

Planting and Care

You can grow the ‘Big Beef’ tomato in various locations: a greenhouse, vegetable patch, or even in a pot outdoors. If you choose to use a greenhouse, start planting your ‘Big Beef’ tomatoes in early May. For outdoor planting, wait until mid-late May and acclimatize your plants by hardening them off for 7 to 14 days in a sheltered outdoor location or a cold frame.

Tomato plants thrive in nutrient-rich soil when grown in pots. Consider using Plantura Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, as it provides essential nutrients for the young plants during their initial growth phase. After planting, make sure to water the ‘Big Beef’ tomato and provide it with sturdy support, as it tends to grow rapidly.

To encourage fruit production, it is essential to prune your ‘Big Beef’ tomato plant. Allow only one or at most two shoots to grow. Remove any other side shoots carefully. For detailed instructions on tomato pruning, refer to our article on growing different types of tomatoes.

Starting from June, the ‘Big Beef’ tomato plants benefit from regular feeding. Apply a liquid fertilizer, such as Plantura Liquid Tomato Food, approximately once a week while watering. This method allows the roots to absorb the nutrients efficiently. If you notice the lower leaves turning yellow, it indicates a lack of nitrogen, so proper fertilization will help.

To conserve moisture and protect against erosion, apply a layer of mulch around your ‘Big Beef’ tomato plants. This technique is particularly useful during hot summer days when evaporation is high.

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Harvesting and Using ‘Big Beef’ Tomatoes

By August, you can harvest the first ripe, bright red fruits of the ‘Big Beef’ tomato. These mild and flavorful tomatoes are incredibly versatile. Enjoy them as a refreshing snack, grill them, bake them, or incorporate them into soups and sauces. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll find it easy to fit them into your diet.

If you’re interested in cultivating tomatoes outdoors, we’ve compiled a list of the best disease-resistant varieties to consider.

Are you ready to embark on a tomato-growing adventure with the ‘Big Beef’ tomato? Check out Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ for more information and to find quality seeds. Happy gardening!