Photo by Leonora Enking (CC BY-SA 2.0).
Scientific Name: Solanum lycopersicum
Common Name: Heirloom Tomato 'Beefsteak'
Family: Solanaceae (Tomato & Nightshade)
lycopersicum: Wolf Peach
Tomato plants are natives of South America. There is a record of beefsteak tomatoes being grown back as far back as 1882, however the exact origin of this variety is unknown.
The beefsteak tomato is a heirloom grower's favourite due to their massive size, great flavour, firm flesh and distinctive ridged appearance.
The perfect tomato for sandwiches, you only need one slice to cover the entire surface area of bread, giving near perfect coverage. Although if you only make one sandwich at a time you'll have lots of left-over tomato at the end.
Sow beefsteak tomato seeds 6mm deep spacing plants about 60cm apart from each other. In the subtropics sow anytime from March to September, although if you live in an area that receives Winter frost you should wait until all chance of frost has past before sowing. In the tropics sow from May to July to prevent the fruit from forming during the peak of both the Summer heat (which can cook tomatoes on the vine, causing them to go soft and rot) and fruit fly season. In temperate regions sow beefsteak tomato seeds in Spring, anytime from September to November.
Water regularly to prevent the tomato fruits from cracking and spiting. Trellis plants or surround them in a wire cage to give support to the growing tomato plant and prevent the heavy fruit bending and snapping the stems of the tomato plant. Due to their large size these tomatoes take awhile to grow ripen, you'll have to wait between 12 and 14 weeks before you can harvest these beefsteak tomatoes.