Big Boy Tomato: All You Need To Know

Tomatoes are an integral part of our lives. We use them in cooking, as a side dish, and even in Tomatina festivals. These red-colored berries are sweet, sour, juicy, and tasty; all at the same time. You can grow tomatoes in your gardens or even in your patios. They fruit all-around the year and need the least resources and care to grow. Tomato vines are also grown for their ornamental value. These creepers look fine on your garden walls.

Tomatoes are edible berries of the tomato plant – Solanum Lycopersicum. It is a native of South America. The Spanish discovered and spread tomatoes around the world. This happened during their conquest of the Aztec empire. Big Boy Tomatoes are a popular variety of tomatoes in the US. It has been growing in the US for the past 50 years. This variety is popular for the big size and its taste. They are available throughout the year.

You can grow the Big Boy Tomatoes in your kitchen garden. This hybrid plant is sturdy and disease resistant. It requires little care and resources to grow & fruit. The plant grows to a height of four to five feet and is best suited for US agriculture hardiness zones 10 to 11. We bring to you an all you need to know guide to grow the Big Boy Tomatoes at your homes. It will be useful for new planters and seasoned growers.

The Big Boy Tomatoes

The Big Boy Tomatoes is a hybrid variety characterized by improved yield. It first appeared in the US markets in 1949. The seeds were first produced by W. Atlee Burpee & Company. The Big Boy Tomatoes are sweet, fragrant, red, and have smooth skin. The fruits grow to a pound apiece. The plant is bush-like with a soft stem. It is an abundant grower, is disease resistant, and produces tomatoes all year round. Since the variety is still in use, its exact parentage is a trade secret.

The Big Boy Tomato plant grows to a height of four to five feet. People cultivate it as an annual. It can also grow as a perennial in plant hardiness zones 10 to 11. Tomatoes are native to the Peru-Ecuador region. The wild version of tomatoes was pea-shaped. Farmers domesticated it when it spread to the Mexico region. The Spanish people took tomatoes to Europe. People were suspicious of tomatoes being poisonous. For many years, people have used it for ornamental purposes.

The earliest reference of tomatoes in North America dates back to 1710. Herbalist William Salmon observed tomatoes in the present South Carolina. By the mid-18th century, people started cultivating tomatoes in plantations. We know Alexander W. Livingston for developing a variety of tomatoes in the US. His first breed was ‘Paragon’. He, in total, developed 18 varieties of tomatoes. They were instrumental in starting the commercial cultivation of tomatoes.

Tomatoes, from the nutritional point of view, are 95% water. They have a moderate amount of Vitamin C in them. They also have a small number of carbohydrates and traces of fat and proteins. Tomatoes have Lycopene. Scientists debate it causes cancer. There is no scientific evidence to this claim.

The heaviest tomato to date weighs 3.51 kg (7 lb 12 oz). The largest tomato plant is in Walt Disney Resorts at Lake Buena Vista, Florida. It has harvested 32,000 tomatoes.

Are Tomato Plants Safe For Animals?

Tomato leaves have a toxic alkaloid, Solanine. If consumed in large quantities, it is poisonous to your cats and dogs. In small amounts though, it is harmless. Since the chemical is only in the plant leaves, you can feel assured that your cats or dogs will not get poisoned. If you have cows and goats who love green leaves, be careful.

Why Grow The Big Boy Tomatoes In Your Garden?

You may wonder why you should grow the Big Boy Tomatoes in your garden. There are several other varieties available anyways. Well, there are several advantages to growing the Big Boy tomatoes in your garden. Experts list this variety in the top five of all-time favorites. Some of the advantages of growing Big Boy tomato plants are:

High Yield: The Big Boy variety has a high yield as compared to the local ones. The tomatoes are even available throughout the year.

Pest Resistant: The Big Boy variety is resistant to several common pest infestations. You thus need to care less for the plants.

Disease Resilient: The Big Boy variety is a hardened plant. It can withstand most bacterial and fungal infections.

Minimal Resources: This plant needs a minimal amount of fertilizers and no intricate irrigation facility. This in turn reduces your expenses.

How To Grow The Big Boy Tomatoes

Growing the Big Boy Tomato plant is easy. You can grow it in your garden or on your patio. The following points will assist you in beginning your Tomatina adventure.

When To Plant

Tomato plants need warmth and sunshine. It is best to plant them as soon as the frost recedes. Springtime is the ideal season to start a tomato harvest. You can plant them as late as early July. If you are planting them as soon as the frosty season ends, be ready to cover the saplings from the cold climate. You can use floating row covers, hot caps, and water-filled cones.

Where To Plant

You can either plant the Big Boy saplings in your garden beds or big-sized pots on your terrace. The tomato plants need well-fertilized, moist soil. The soil needs to be well-drained. Water retention in the soil is a big no for tomato plants. Use raised beds for better drainage.

Temperature And Humidity

Tomato plants need warm and humid conditions. Plant them where they will get ample sunlight. Since the tomato creepers cannot stand on their own, use stakes to support them. Needless to say, they are best kept away from the wind. You can select any place which is near a wall or any other natural windbreaker. It should receive a good amount of sunlight.

How To Start

Use the following steps to start your tomato plants.

  1. Grow The Plantlets From Their Seeds: Get the Big Boy Tomato seeds and plant them in small pots. Use seed starting compost. Spread the seeds over the soil and cover it 1/4th inch thick, moist compost. Maintain temperature between 75 to 85 °F. Water once a while. The plantlets will start developing in 14 days. Do this activity indoors or at your nursery.
  2. Shift The Plantlets Into Your Garden: Move the plantlets in the pots to your garden. Do this once the plantlets are a few inches tall. They will get used to the outside environment and become sturdy. At the same time, they will develop a root system.
  3. Plant The Tomato Saplings: After a few weeks, plant them into your garden bed or pre-prepared pots. Position them 12 to 18 inches apart. Tomato plants are best planted deep. Stake the plant and use slow-release fertilizers. Press the soil near the plant stem and water it when you plant it.

Water And Fertilizers

Tomato plants need a good amount of fertilizers. Before planting your dwarf plants on the garden bed, fertilize the soil. Use one pound of fertilizer per 100 square feet of row. Apply one ounce of starter fertilizer solution when transferring the dwarf plants. Use mulching to avoid weeds in the Big Boy Tomato plants.

After the first tomatoes have grown to the size of golf balls, use nitrogen-based fertilizers at the rate of one pound per 100 feet of row. Repeat this fertilizing schedule on the third and the sixth week. Do not let the fertilizers fall on the leaves.

Tomato plants need regular watering. During the dry periods, water the plants every two to four days. Water the plants in pots regularly. Water the plants when you have fertilized them.

Staking, Pruning, And Harvesting The Big Boy Tomatoes

Staking the tomato vines is an important activity. It increases plant growth and its yield. The Big Boy Tomato plants grow to a height of three to four feet. You can stake your tomato plant using wooden sticks or tomato cages. These provide support to your growing plant.

Use wooden stakes of one-inch diameter and six feet tall. You can also use tomato cages for support purposes. Use large mesh size for easy harvesting. While driving the stakes or cages into the ground, be careful not to harm the plant roots. Attach the plant to the support with thread, twist ties, cloth strips, or nylon hosiery.

Prune your Big Boy tomato plants for early maturity. These plants give ripe fruit within 70-72 days. Prune them every five to seven days. Be careful not to prune the flower clusters that grow from the main stem. Or do not pinch off the tip of the plant. Needless to say, do not prune the cherry tomatoes either.

Harvest the Big Boy tomatoes once they grow firm and start changing color. The suitable temperature for tomatoes is 80 °F. If the temperature cross 90 °F, the tomatoes start to soften. You will do good to remove the tomatoes from the plant when they are changing color from green to red. Clean them and dry them. Store the tomatoes at a temperature range of 55 to 65 °F. They will ripe into red color within a few weeks.

Tips To A Better Big Boy Tomato Harvest

You will find below several tips to improve your tomato plant yield and have a healthy crop. Even if you are using the vines for decorative purposes, these tips are sure to improve plant health.

Tomatoes Falling From The Plants: You may find small tomatoes dropping off the plants. This is due to excessive day temperature or very low night temperature. Shield your tomato plants from excessive weather conditions to avoid further drops.

Lower Leaves Turning Yellow And Dropping: This happens due to Alternaria. Additionally, there will be dark spots on the leaves. This usually occurs when there is excessive rain in the area. Use a fungicide spray and plant the tomatoes on raised beds.

Storing Tomatoes: Store the big Boy tomatoes at room temperature in a single layer. Do not refrigerate them. Pick them when they are green or change the color to red. This increases their shelf life.

Cracked Tomatoes On The Plant: This happens when there is excessive moisture in the soil. The tomatoes on ripening continue to get water and nutrients. This increases their size and their skin cracks. Once the tomatoes have grown and begun changing color, reduce the water supply. Use mulch to reduce natural water fluctuations.

Size Of Tomato Cages: You may be using tomato cages to support your plants. The diameter should be 18 to 20 inches at the top. Smaller cages will restrict plant growth. It can be about five to five and a half feet tall.

Leaf Roll Up: If you find the lower leaves of the plant roll up, it is due to pruning. Plants when subjected to stress respond in their way. You need not do anything for this condition.


You can grow Big Boy Tomato plants by following this useful guide. It is an easy process and requires very few steps to have big, ripe tomatoes in your garden. More than 90% of home planters in the US grow tomatoes in their backyards. We hope that you will be able to grow and enjoy the tomatoes you harvest. All the best!

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