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Better Boy Vs Beefsteak Tomatoes – Whats The Difference?

Are you overwhelmed trying to find the perfect tomato to grow? There are so many options that it can be hard to choose a variety that will best suit your garden and food needs. If you are struggling, consider two classic types of tomatoes that will be versatile in producing food dishes and even preserving. This article will provide a lot of knowledge on two of the most popular tomato varieties; Better Boy vs. Beefsteak tomatoes.

Better Boy and Beefsteak tomatoes are very similar. They both produce large fruits weighing in at around 10-16 ounces for Beefsteaks and 16 ounces for Better Boys. They are both the perfect size for slicing and eating sandwiches. The taste of them is a somewhat mild yet classic tomato flavor. There are some slight variations in the growing process of each, along with the time the different stages of the growing process take. 

Continue reading to learn more details about how Better Boy and Beefsteak tomatoes are similar and how they are different. After learning all about them, you will surely desire to grow one of these classic tomatoes.

Basic Growth Facts

Below are some basic growth facts with Better Boy and Beefsteak tomatoes. The table shows how to start the seeds, the germination rate, and the usual expectations for harvest.

When And Where To Start SeedsGermination RateDays Until Harvest
Better BoyStart seeds Indoors 6-8 weeks before transplanting to the garden.8-10 days70-75 days
BeefsteakStart seeds indoors  6-8 weeks before transplanting to the garden.5-10 days75-80 days
Table showing seeds, germination rates, and harvest times of Better Boy and Beefsteak tomatoes

How Do Their Sizes Compare?

Weight-

Better Boy and Beefsteak tomatoes have a very similar sizes. They each produce fruit of around 16 ounces or 1 pound in weight. Beefsteaks, however, can produce fruits a little smaller at around 10 ounces. 

Height- 

The height of these two tomato varieties differs slightly. Beefsteak tomatoes typically grow around 4-5 feet tall, while Better Boys grow much taller at 5-8 feet. It makes sense that Better Boys consistently produce fruit around 16 ounces, and Beefsteaks can be slightly smaller. The size of the plant influences the size of the fruit grown. The height of each of these plants makes it very apparent that stakes or cages are vital to support their growth. 

Width-

Although Better Boy tomato plants are taller than Beefsteaks, they are much narrower. Better Boy plants are typically around 18 inches wide, while Beefsteaks grow more horizontally at a width of 36-48 inches. That’s 2-3 times the width of Better Boys.  

Spacing-

Better Boy and Beefsteak tomatoes each require a spacing of 24-36 inches between plants to allow optimal room for them to grow. Overcrowding can cause their roots to attack each other and their branches to run out of room to grow. Unfortunately, they could eventually die.

Environmental Factors/Proper Nourishment

Sunlight-

Better Boy and Beefsteak tomatoes both need at least 6 hours of full sunlight per day to be nourished and successfully grown. That is a minimum requirement. Better Boys, interestingly enough, develop very thick foliage that can act as a shield from the sun. Too much sun can cause sunscald, but the foliage makes it almost impossible for Better Boys to develop it.

Pests and Diseases-

There is a huge difference between Beefsteak and Better Boy tomatoes regarding pests and diseases. Better Boys are very resistant to disease and pests. Like most plants, they are prone to rot from overwatering, but overall, they have been known to fight off pests and diseases that may come their way. Beefsteaks, on the other hand, are prone to diseases and pests.

It is recommended to monitor your beefsteak plants and to attack problems head on as they may arise. By taking the time to identify possible problems and solving them right away, it is more likely that you will avoid any possible diseases or hungry pests. 

Water-

As mentioned above, overwatering will likely cause your tomatoes to rot. Blossom end rot is a common issue among many tomato varieties. Beefsteak tomatoes need a medium amount of water at an average of 1-2 inches per week. Better Boys require only 1 inch of water per week. That equates to around 2-3 watering sessions per week for each variety.

Soil-

From the beginning, a seed starting mix is best to germinate the seeds and get them off to a good start. Once planted in the garden, both tomato varieties benefit from well-balanced and slightly acidic soil with a pH of around 6.5-7.0. Weeds are always to be removed from the soil to prevent any threats. The soils should be kept clear of any growth other than the tomato plants. Many even recommend a black plastic mulch to be added to the soil’s surface for Beefsteak tomatoes. It will absorb the heat and hold the warmth into the soil. 

Fertilization-

It is always smart to add a good compost of organic matter to the soil of your tomato plants. Better Boy and Beefsteak tomatoes will surely thrive with the extra nutrients. Better Boys need to be fertilized every two weeks or so, while beefsteaks only need it once a month. Choose a well-balanced fertilizer or one that is made explicitly for tomatoes. Check your local gardening store. Make sure to stick to propeller fertilizing guidelines. Overfertilizing can end up killing your plants. 

Which Tomato Is Best?

It’s tough to determine a favorite when the two tomato varieties discussed are so similar. Their sizes, taste, and care are all mostly the same but have slight variations. Overall, it will come down to personal preference after growing both and gaining familiarity with them.

Many may argue that Better Boy Tomatoes are more simple to grow, but depending on where you live and the weather, that may not be the case.

Of course, maintaining and taking care of your tomato plants is the most critical factor in growing them successfully and to their full potential in quantity and quality. You can’t go wrong with either of these options. They are both two of the most classic and popular tomatoes to grow in America.