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Tomato, BushSteak Hybrid

Short Description

Now grow beefsteak tomatoes in a container. As featured in "The Best of Fine Gardening" magazine, Summer 2005 .

Full Description

Meet the best of the staked tomatoes-a standout for exceptional taste, size and quantity. This surprisingly compact (20-24") plant is just loaded with large, flavorful tomatoes. Well-suited for a patios, small gardens and containers, the dwarf plants offer big meaty fruit (8-12 oz.) and early maturity.
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Item#: 61130A
Order: 1 Pkt. (40 seeds)
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Item#: 20388
Order: 3 Plants
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Product properties

Type Some flowers and vegetables fall into subcategories that may define how they grow (such as pole or bush), what they are used for (such as slicing tomatoes or shelling peas), flower type, or other designations that will help you select the type of a class of plant that you are looking for.


Fruit Bearing This refers to the relative season when the plant produces fruit, or if it bears continuously or just once


Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.

65 days

Fruit Weight The average weight of the fruit produced by this product.

8-12 ounces

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

18 inches

Plant Shipping Information

Plants begin shipping week of:

May 07, 2018

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Item 20388 cannot ship to: AA, AE, AK, AP, AS, CN, FM, GA, GU, HI, MH, MP, PR, PW, VI
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  • Tomatoes

    Start Indoors Start Indoors Starting seeds indoors is called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds indoors in the spring or summer
    Transplant Transplant When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for spring
    Start Outdoors Start Outdoors Starting seeds outdoors is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the spring or summer
    Start Indoors Fall Start Indoors Fall Starting seeds indoors in the fall called Indoor Sow or Indirect Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    Transplant Fall Transplant Fall Transplant Fall-When to transplant bulbs or roots in the garden for fall
    Start Outdoors Fall Start Outdoors Fall Starting seeds outdoors in the fall is called Outdoor Sow or Direct Sow and these dates are when to sow seeds outdoors in the fall
    First Date: Mar-07 - Last Date: Mar-21
    First Date: May-02 - Last Date: May-30

How to Sow and Plant

  • Sow tomato seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit
  • Sow seeds ¼  inch deep in seed-starting formula
  • Keep the soil moist at 75 degrees F
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Planting in the Garden:

  • Select a location in full sun with good rich moist organic soil. Make sure you did not grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes in the bed the previous year to avoid disease problems.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
  • Tomatoes should be set 30-48 inches apart in a row with the rows spaced 3-4 feet apart. It can be tempting to space tomatoes more closely at planting time, but if you plant too closely you will increase the chance of disease, and decrease yields.
  • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball. 
  • Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development. 
  • Tomatoes can be planted deeply, with the stem buried to the first set of leaves. The more deeply they are planted the more roots will form, providing the plant with additional support and better ability to take up nutrients. Some gardeners plant tomatoes by digging a horizontal trench and laying the plant in the trench with the top 2-4 inches of the plant pointing upward.
  • Fill the planting hole with soil to the top and press soil down firmly with your hand leaving a slight depression around the plant to hold water. 
  • Use the plant tag as a location marker. This is particularly important if you are trying different varieties. It is very difficult to tell which variety is which from the foliage.  
  • Water thoroughly, so that a puddle forms in the saucer you have created. This settles the plants in, drives out air pockets and results in good root-to-soil contact.
  • Place your plant support at this time. You can try tomato cages or staking. Unsupported plants will sprawl on the ground, require no pruning, and will probably produce a larger yield of smaller fruit than will staked plants. For larger, cleaner, more perfect fruits, support plants as they grow. Growing on stakes: Place strong stakes in the ground and set plants about 6 inches from the stakes. Growing in cages: Place a cage around a single plant; let the vines grow and enlarge within the cage, no pruning  will be necessary

How to Grow

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. 
  • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. This is especially important for tomatoes as their roots may be easily damaged when weeding, and this can lead to blossom end rot.
  • Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1-2 inches of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
  • If growing on stakes: As the plants grow, allow only one or two main stems to grow and pinch out any other side shoots as they form. Gently tie the one or two remaining shoots to the stake; don't pull them tightly against the stake. If growing in cages, no pruning is necessary.
  • Whether to remove the side shoots, or suckers, that grow out of the leaf axils or not depends on the support system used. Gardeners using stakes usually snap off these side shoots. They typically get earlier and larger tomatoes but overall production tends to be less. If tomatoes are grown in cages, the suckers are generally left on, although it's a good idea to pinch the tip out of them when they are 6-8 inches long. Regardless you may want to remove all the growth from the bottom 6-10 inches of the plant. This helps to improve air circulation and reduce the spread of diseases such as early blight. Wait until the plants are knee-high. In the morning when the plants have the most water in them, snap off the lower growth while it is small. Any plants that look sick with distorted foliage or have a mosaic pattern on the leaves should be removed as they may have a virus that can spread to the other plants. It is best to do this early in the season.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.

Harvesting and Preserving Tips

  • Determinate tomato plants ripen a heavy crop over a few weeks. Indeterminate varieties bear fruit continuously until frost. Remember that the days to harvest refers to the time from setting out transplants in the garden.
  • Pick tomatoes when they are as ripe as possible. They should be fully colored and firm and picked regularly to avoid overloading plants.
  • At the end of the season, when you know there will be a frost, pick all the almost-ripe tomatoes you can, and ripen them in brown bags or spread on newspapers at room temperature. Many cultivars will store for months. Store only sound fruit, at 50-60°F. Do NOT refrigerate and try to avoid having the fruit touch each other.
  • The foliage of tomatoes is toxic and should not be eaten.
  • Tomato fruits are enjoyed in many cooked dishes as a flavoring. Use them to make soups, sauces, stews, ketchup, paste, juice, quiche, and pies. Add them to curries, casseroles, and chutney.
Fruit Bearing
Days To Maturity
65 days
Fruit Weight
8-12 ounces
Full Sun
18 inches
22 inches
Sow Method
Indoor Sow
Sow Time
6-8 weeks BLF
6 inches
Tomato, BushSteak Hybrid is rated 3.5 out of 5 by 33.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent taste!!! I picked this variety because if was early to mature and a bush variety. We were able to harvest about 6 weeks after planting but the taste was fabulous!!! We were surprised at how sweet these tasted. We are having some blight issues with this plant and one other variety but overall very pleased. It has been a hot, humid and somewhat dry summer which I think is very akin to good taste. Too much rain in the past has attributed to diluted flavor. This is just a personal observation, not sure if there is any science behind this. Overall I would try this again.
Date published: 2016-07-17
Rated 3 out of 5 by from very low production This plant was a disappointment, very low production and what it did produce were inconsistent sizes.
Date published: 2015-11-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Flavorless disease-ridden dissapointment Normally I grow heritage varieties. I tried these to get away from disease. (I am a plant geneticist so I actually believe that modern varieties can be useful (!), but I still have my old favorites) Turns out they got plastered by late blight worse than my old favorites. But the biggest disappointment was the taste: like water! This is partly because the leaves all fell off early from disease, but even earlier in the season they had poor flavor. They were quite productive though: so if you are looking for a short productive variety and all you care about is red color then these might be OK.
Date published: 2015-09-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from BushSteak All three plants were grown in large pots 16-18" in full sun. The plants were larger than advertised and so were many of the tomatoes. Each plant produced around 25-30 Tomatoes. The tomatoes looked very nice while growing. When we started harvesting it was a different story, most of the Tomatoes had light/white areas inside and had little Tomato taste. A few without the white areas were fairly good. I doubt that I will grow them again.
Date published: 2015-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good for a small tomato Great flavor with outstanding number of tomatoes. I grew the in a patio container to produce good results. Very hardy and easy to maintain. Can be sliced for a sandwich but you will probably need two slices for each sandwich. I am limited for space therefore I wanted to try this hybrid. Somewhat small which is the reason for only 4 Stars. I plan to buy these again.
Date published: 2014-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great container tomato! I started the seeds indoors and transplanted two plants to a 24" pot. They did very well on my patio even though I don't get full sun. The plants are compact and the tomatoes are large and delicious. I used three bamboo stakes tied together at the top to support them and they are still going strong. I did have a run in with tomato horn worms, but fortunately I caught them early. Growing these tomatoes right outside my. back door is so convenient and easy.
Date published: 2014-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Tomato, but size of plant not as described! I planted this in my SFG and caged it. It has produced great tomatoes, with great flavor, but the plant is much larger then the 24 inches it is described to grow. Mine is about chest high on me right now and quite bushy. I planted it from seed inside on 2/15 and it is now 7/3. I have to admit that I love the flavor and the yield is great. I have already harvested about 5 tomatoes and there at least 20 smaller ones left on the bush just waiting to ripen. The green ones are great for frying! I'd give this tomato a better rating if its size were more accommodating to a single square as advertised.
Date published: 2014-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Tomatoes I tried the bushsteak tomato for the first time in 2013. The plant itself grew to a great size for me, under 3 feet which makes it great to maintain. However, we picked 25 tomatoes off that one bush. I raved about these to my mother and daughter and brought a pack of seeds for them to grow this year. These tomatoes were so good that I stuck a seed in the soil to grow 1 last bush before the frost. I will only be growing the bushsteak tomato; no more out of control indeterminate tomatoes for me. Now I'm looking for a great indeterminate roma tomato for canning.
Date published: 2014-02-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointed I purchased this variety as a garden ready plant rather than buying seeds. Perhaps that was my mistake. This plant produced very few fruit and did not grow as well as other tomato varieties (not purchased from Burpee and grown from seed). I am disappointed in the quality of this plant and will not purchase again.
Date published: 2013-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great For Containers Was looking for a container tomato and ended up selecting the Bushsteak Hybrid a determinate variety. Started indoors under grow lights from seed, and set them out after May 12th. I used 5 gallon grow bags, with my homemade soiless mix of spangum peat moss, composted manure, perlite, and some garden lime along with kelp meal. I also used a regimen of JR Peters products Blossom Booster and all purpose fertilizer (Both water soluble). The results were amazing for me as of July 12 the plants are at their maximum height of 2 feet 11 inches, with a thick stalked main stem and bushy with lots of flowers and perfect sized tomatoes (8.95 oz). The only mistake I made was the size of the grow bag, should have used a 10 gallon container, with the 5 gallon I have to water every day. This plant is a winner if you provide the right soil or soiless mix, and use a quality fertilization program.
Date published: 2013-07-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Absolutely nothing Plants looked healthy when received. Followed directions, but plant died without producing. Have requested replacement or refund per Burpee Guarantee.
Date published: 2013-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Producer!!! Last year was my first year to try the Bushsteak Hybrids. I was pleasantly surprised by the large production numbers and the flavor was excellent. I grow many determinate varieties and the Bushsteak hybrids are definitely at the top of my list for this year's planting. Had very little, or no BER with these tomatoes. Better than 95% of the fruit harvested were blemish free and almost no culls. A great seller at the Farmers Market. Would recommend this variety to anyone to grow in their garden.
Date published: 2013-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best ever pot tomato Without any doubt, the best tomato for pots is the Bushsteak Hybrid. Over the last 20 years I have tried virtually every type of tomato for large pots and most all of the suffer blosom end rot except the Bushsteak. As an example I use a pots that are about 1.5 cubic feet with excellent drainage and new potting mix soil every year (this is essential). I add cup of lime and some miracle grow plant food. I use Burbee tomato starter mix as a top layer and plant the seeds. Last year I had 3 pots and averaged at least 30 large tomatoes per pot for a total of more than 100 and every single tomato was a keeper with absolutely no blossom end rot. All of the extra tomatoes are used to make sauce for spaghetti, chili and bean soup.
Date published: 2012-05-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing Planted seed indoors in Aerogarden May 1, transplanted outdoors Memorial Day. Despite a severe hail storm a few weeks later, plant survived and grew well in 15 gallon container. It is indeed a compact plant. Sturdy, too. Got an initial cluster, then not much more. 10 tomatoes total, and the higher up they were, the smaller they became. I fed a few times (Burpee Tomato Food and Sea Magic) and watered faithfully. Picked first 2 tomatoes 8/8. VERY disappointing flavor and texture. Bland and mealy. Not much better than store bought. Maybe the rest will be better when they ripen, but I don't hold out much hope. Wouldn't grow this variety again.
Date published: 2011-08-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from TERRIBLE TOMATOES! These are the worst tomatoes I have ever grown (and I have a lot of experience). I grew these in self-watering containers on a roof deck in Boston, MA. Admittedly it gets hot up there, but these tomato plants died early (before other varieties ripened). The fruits that did ripened tasted terribly. There was no flavor -- they tasted like tomatoes at a fast food restaurant in January.
Date published: 2011-08-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from nice plants I planted these in containers for the first time this year in 10 gallon containers. They produced almost exactly as described in Burpee's ad. Each plant grew to about 3 feet and produced 25-30 tomatoes. The biggest was one pound but average was 9-10 ounces. Taste was quite good but obviously as a hybrid it's not the best tasting tomato you'll ever grow. I planted seed on March 9 and picked the first fruit on July 6. They were certainly determinate for me and seemed to have stopped producing new fruit at this stage. These should be caged, as I had a couple side shots break off in strong winds. I'll plant these again next year for sure.
Date published: 2009-07-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Determinate??? I didn't expect this plant to get so huge! They grew right out of the Burpee cage, and really needed a second one. Nice large fruit, most were "oxheart" shaped, with a fairly nice, but not a knock-out taste. Ripened late, however. Most didn't get ripe until September and October. We got the biggest harvest just this week.
Date published: 2008-10-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great tomato.... Nice, strong plants and very productive too. Not unusual to get a cluster of four or more nice sized tomatoes ripen all at once. The taste is very good, but can get a little mealy at times. The tomatoes do not have a lot of seeds, and they are nice size too, between medium and large.
Date published: 2008-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect Tomatoes Great tomatoes, I grew them in self-watering 3 foot by 1 foot Trough planters, they were large perfect blemish free. Three plants produced plenty to eat and share. Only watered once a week and had tomatoes well into october.
Date published: 2008-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome yield and flavor! Wow, one pack of seeds has resulted in over 450 tomatoes (yes, I am keeping count!), and about 100 more on the vine. Hopefully with some good weather in October they will continue to ripen. These plants were not as compact as suggested. Some of mine grew to 4 1/2 feet. No problem there, but keep in mind if you need a really compact plant. The tomatoes were very tasty, most in the 10 oz. range, just amazing production. I will grow these every year now, as they fit my limited space well. We were so overwhelmed by the amount of tomatoes that were produced that we ended up making a huge amount of sauce when we found ourselves with 50 tomatoes, all ripened in August. It came out great. I am a beginning gardener and this was my first attempt at growing tomatoes. This was a great success!
Date published: 2007-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Huge Fruit Maybe this tomato responds better to arid conditions? I'm not sure, but mine really produced big, beautifully, and in huge number through an exceptionally hot summer. There are huge clusters of big fruit that have been sweet and juicy and perfect for huge hamburgers. The skin is just a little thick, but I wonder if that's from cross pollenation with my First Ladies? I did water them every day, but in the Front Range and 100 degrees most of July, it was necessary. The plants got to be nearly five feet tall here, and spread out sideways. The planting suggestions on spacing were right on, these need a lot of space.
Date published: 2007-08-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Satisfactory, but not outstanding The plants give a decent yield, but after the first picking of tomatos, the flavor and quality of the fruit seemed to drop off very quickly. It had a good start, but the remaining tomatos never fully filled out in flavor or size. The plants were grown in a raised bed and watered frequently with ~ 8-10 hours of sun a day.
Date published: 2006-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bodacious Beefsteak Tomato! Impressive size and DELICIOUS tomato. Extemely easy to grow in large pots when caged. Drought and disease resistant. Pest resistant, too! This has become my family's favorite all-around tomato. Excellent on hamburgers, in spaghetti or alone. No wonder it sells out so quickly!
Date published: 2006-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from West Texas Gardening I start all of my vegetables from seed in March. In 2005, between the Bush Steak Hybrid and the Fourth of July, we had tomatoes from the end of April to Thanksgiving, even in this arrid climate of West Texas. We are originally from Kansas, where the rainfall was over 30 inches a year, but here, if we get 18 inches we are lucky. The tomatoes were wonderful!
Date published: 2006-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Tomatoes I had great success with these tomatoes in pots last year and will be growing them again this year.
Date published: 2006-02-06
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