Earl's Red Beefsteak
95 days. A classic American, red tomato. One taste of Earl’s Red Beefsteak instantly transports me back to my enchanted garden of childhood. Excellent, classic tomato flavor with a perfect balance of sweet and tart. Fruit are 3” diameter, fairly uniform and meaty but never mushy. Fruit are more resistant to splitting than your average heirloom beefsteak. The first time we met Earl, Michigan’s premier tomato enthusiast, he sported a briefcase of thousands of tomato varieties. When asked about his favorites, he grinned and handed me a packet of seeds labeled “Earl’s Red Beefsteak.” Earl Bassett, of 45th Parallel Seeds, discovered this tomato among a patch of Dwarf Orange Pixie. Thanks to Earl for bringing us this awesome variety! Plants are potato-leaved and indeterminate. NN[[end tab]] [[start tab]]
Growing Instructions (for USDA Zone 5b):
Start tomato seeds inside at least 6 weeks before last frost (around 4/1). Ideal temperature for germination is 85° (use a heating mat). Days to germination: 5-14. Once leaves appear, grow plants at 72°. Plant seedlings outside late May into fertile garden soil (with lots of compost or decomposed manure) at a spacing of 18” apart. Stake tomato plants. Tomatoes are susceptible to several fungal diseases (including Early and Late Blight and Verticillium Wilt). To prevent blight, keep foliage dry by 1) Pruning tomato plants to allow for good air circulation 2) Water with drip irrigation/soaker hoses. Crop rotation is also key to preventing tomato diseases. Ideally, plant tomato plants in a spot that has not had any Solanaceae crops (tomato, peppers, eggplant, potatoes) growing there for 4 years. Frequent watering will help to minimize cracking of tomatoes.
Harvest when fruit are fully red ripe and soft when squeezed.
Seed Saving Instructions for gardeners:
Tomatoes are relatively easy seed-saving crops. They are primarily self-pollinated but may be crossed pollinated by insects when different tomato varieties are planted next to one another. You can just save seed and see what you get! Isolation distance of 10ft will minimize crossing while 150’ is necessary to eliminate it. Always harvest seed from the best plants. It is best, but not totally necessary, to collect seeds from a minimum of 6 plants. Collect ripe tomatoes and cut and squeeze out seeds. See instructions for fermenting seeds. Rinse and dry seeds on a screen or wax paper.[[end tab]]