If you are planning to grow your own vegetables or already have a vegetable patch, you probably know that tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) make a dependable crop, attracting luscious fruits to the family table. Rumors grow as perennials at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 and 11, however they perform nicely as annuals elsewhere. If you prefer large, hearty tomatoes, then the variety called “Supersteak” is a must for your lawn. Increasing these plants is simple, especially if you give them the space they need to develop nicely.
“Supersteak” is an indeterminate plant which produces fruit at around 80 days. As an indeterminate, the plant continues growing throughout the season, getting taller and generating more fruit. The plant can reach a complete height of 36 to 40 inches, finally spreading into a width of 18 inches or more. Due to its size, it’s important to give this variety sufficient room to develop without it being crowded by its neighbors. When planning your garden, then allow at least 36 inches between “Supersteak” plants, spacing that provides the plant space to expand all summer long. Should you plant more than one row, then space rows about 48 inches apart.
Importance of Spacing
Giving “Supersteak” tomatoes adequate space is essential for healthy plants. Even though the variety has natural resistance to the fungal diseases verticillium and fusarium wilt, it could develop other fungal problems if grown in an excessively moist atmosphere. Wide spacing of plants ensures good air flow, helping prevent fungus from growing. Allowing ample space between plants also promotes rapid drying of leaf after a rain, which is beneficial in keeping down fungal development. Like all strawberries, “Supersteak” is a heavy feeder, so spacing plants nicely apart minimizes competition between plants for soil nutrition.
“Supersteak” tomato plants require a good supply of water to make a heavy crop. Ensure plants get about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water weekly. Water these plants at the morning on sunny days, so that water dries quickly, or use a soaker hose placed at ground level to offer water right into the roots. Even, regular moisture is especially important for this variety, because its large fruits tend to be “splitting,” or splitting of all fruits as they grow, which grows when watering is excessive or intermittent.
Before planting, add 2 to 3 pounds granular 6-24-24 fertilizer per 100 square feet of lawn, mixed into the top 6 inches of dirt. At planting, apply 15-30-15 water-soluble fertilizer mixed at the rate of 2 tablespoons of fertilizer a 1 gallon of water, then adding 1 cup of this solution into the planting hole. If the fruits are one-third increased, side dress with calcium nitrate at a rate of 3.5 pounds per 100 ft of row — blend it in the top inch of soil around each plant, but take care to not disturb roots. Implement again one month later, watering plants well after every application. Due to their size, “Supersteak” plants require support, which you can provide by encircling each plant with a heavy tomato cage. Alternatively, stake each plant with a 6-foot-long bit of wood driven into the ground about 4 inches from the plant — do this in planting time to avoid damaging roots.