Big Boy tomatoes

gardenmama613(4a)January 31, 2012

Hello. Last year was my first season growing a vegetable garden, and I feel like I had a good first year. This year, I'm expanding a little now that I've gotten the hang of most of the things I wanted to grow. But last season, I failed miserably at tomatoes. I planted 1 Big Boy plant, which I purchased at a local nursery, in one of those topsy turvy planters that I received as a gift, and I only managed to get 2 good tomatoes out of it. Just taking a guess, that's not much. I did everything I read to do, trimmed the plant when it needed it, gave it good sunlight, well watered. I got a LOT of buds, but they always fell off before they could get much larger than a pea. My main reason for even planting tomatoes, is for my father-in-law, who says Big Boys are the best. I plan to give the Big Boy another shot, but I would also like suggestions for another tomato similar to Big Boy. I am planning to order seeds from Baker Creek, and I'm unfamiliar with ANY of their tomato seeds they have available. Anyone have any suggestions? I'm planning to start seeds indoors again this year, and am trying out the "newspaper pot" method. Thanks.

Aime

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)

I would trash the Topsy Turvy and get a large upright container for your tomatoes or plant them in the garden if your growing season is long enough to grow in the ground.

Why are you planning on ordering from Baker Creek? I looked at their red tomatoes and Rutgers, although smaller than Big Boy, is a hardy tomato that is a reliable good producer with good old fashioned tomato taste. Break O Day is another one that is a reliable good producer and has a good flavor so is worth looking at.

But if you are new to tomatoes, I would go with Rutgers. It has been around since the 1920's for a reason - it is reliable and has a good tomato flavor.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 4:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)

You might want to plant Better Boy, which is a variety that is readily obtained online and in many local stores around the country, both as seeds and plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: Big Boy v. Better Boy

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 4:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bigpinks

Here in Ohio in my clay soil side yard garden I have had much better luck with Better Boy. A few yrs back my Dad got close to 100 tomatoes from a BB plant that he grew in his back yard by staking the plant and not suckering it.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 5:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

As already pointed out the Topsy Turvey was your primary problem. They are well proven to be unsuccessful regardless of the variety of tomato used.

Stick with the tomato variety your FIL wants but grow it in a 12-15 gallon container (or bigger) on the deck or in a garden, buy a self-watering one if you can, plan to feed it every 1-2 weeks, and cage or stake it well.

Baker Creek is great but their specialty is heirloom seeds and open-pollinated varieties so you won't find the Big Boy or Better Boy seeds you seek there. If you feel you must order from them for some reason and you want something 'like' Big Boy then I would suggest then Bonny Best, Homestead, Rutgers, or Sioux are the closest.

Dave

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 6:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
timmy1(6a ri)

Dave,

You have email :)

-Timmy

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 8:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenmama613(4a)

I should have mentioned I plan to put them in the garden this year. I do plan to try Big Boy again, just in the garden this time. Thanks for the suggestions, and the info on the Topsy Turvy. I don't feel so bad now!

I am ordering from Baker Creek because I'd like to try out some different varieties than I did last year. While I have never had a veggie garden until last year, I am not new to gardening in general and found that veggie gardening just came natural. So I'm ready to jump in and expand my gardens, I would like to spend my entire summer just eating from our garden. I saw a few varieties from Baker Creek that I wanted to try, and I read in a couple places that it's a good place to buy(among plenty of others). They seem to have reasonable prices. Also I plan to split the seeds with my Dad, and I'd like to be able to give some plants to my grandpa who LOVES to garden, but did not have any time to garden last summer because my grandma was so sick. She has since passed away and he is not taking it well, so I am planning to start some seeds along with mine for him to give to him, to get him back to his garden that he loved so much. I can buy much more seeds for my money there. I am getting my "seed starting" room all set up and ready for when it is time, knowing I'll need plenty of room if I'm going to fill my gardens as well as my grandpa's. I am making as many newspaper pots as my hands can take, which is what I plan to start all of my seeds in. I'm ready for a new challenge :) Will it prove to much for me? Who knows! All I can do is try!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 8:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenmama613(4a)

I also noticed Territorial Seed Company has good prices, anyone have experience with them?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 10:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)

If you insist on ordering from Baker Creek, I would go with Rutgers. It is an RRR tomato - red, round and reliable. It also tastes pretty good, although a bit too acidic for my tastes.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenmama613(4a)

Why do you say "if you insist on ordering from Baker Creek"? Is there something wrong with ordering from there? I am open to ordering elsewhere, but I know that I want to order seeds online through a dependable company, not buy them at a big box store.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 10:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Why do you say "if you insist on ordering from Baker Creek"? Is there something wrong with ordering from there?

I can't speak for yumtomatoes but no criticism of BC is intended. It is just an unusual choice given your stated goals. You seem to imply in your posts that it is the ideal seed source and that simply isn't true. It is great but so are many others.

BC is excellent company, an excellent seed source, but it is only one of many seed sources out there and it is a specialty seed source only with a limited selection.

You posted about a very common variety (Big Boy) which is readily available from at least 30 different and very reliable seed sources. But it is not something BC would provide or would be interested in providing. That is why we questioned your use of them as your seed source.

I am open to ordering elsewhere, but I know that I want to order seeds online through a dependable company, not buy them at a big box store.

Lots of dependable online seed sources and many of them don't have the narrow heirloom-only focus that BC has.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenmama613(4a)

I was not trying to imply it was the "ideal" seed source..I am not sure where in my post I gave that impression, I am not so foolish as to think there is only 1 good place to buy seeds. I chose Baker Creek because I was interested in some of the varieties of OTHER vegetables and some flowers they were carrying, not because of their tomatoes. I knew I could not get Big Boy from there, my question was about about suggestions for a tomato that would be similar to it that Baker Creek carried(since I had a list of seeds I wanted to get from there already anyway and it seemed to be a dependable place to buy from with good prices.) I think I was just misunderstood, I'm not looking for a place to buy Big Boys, I want to expand my garden and do more seed starting of my own this year. I am sorry I was not clear.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 11:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
gardenmama613(4a)

And my last post sounded a bit rude now that I read it back. ... Please do not take it that way.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

No problem. :)

Dave

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 1:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)

Basically what Dave said - nothing wrong with BC, but BC doesn't seem like a good match to provide you with what you seem to want in a tomato. Based on what you have written, if you only want 2 varieties of tomatoes and 1 is Big Boy, I would go with Better Boy as my other option. Or if you wanted something more diverse, Brandy Boy. BC doesn't carry seeds like that and Burpee does. Burpee is a dependable online company, their shipping is high though if you only want 2 packets of seeds.

Big Boy, Better Boy and Brandy Boy are quite popular hybrids for a reason. If you are ordering at least $30 from burpee.com, you can usually find a coupon to offset some of that cost.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 2:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

If you want something VERY similar to Big Boy F1 then grow Better Boy F1 b'c both share a common parent called Teddy Jones, a large pink heirloom from the midwest.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 3:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)

I don't think Better Boy gets enough credit in this forum. I don't grow it but my neighbor does and his plants produce a ton of flavorful tomatoes and are hardy plants to boot. RRR - round, red and reliable, good tasting too.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 4:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
suncitylinda

There are always so many new (to me) and exciting heirlooms to try, I have never managed to grow either of those boys, althogh I do have some Brandy Boys coming up and will try Lemon Boy this year. Linda

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 7:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)

There are always so many new (to me) and exciting heirlooms to try, I have never managed to grow either of those boys

They are great for newbies since they tend to be more hardy and productive than the heirlooms. Not always, of course, but in general.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 7:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)

There are always so many new (to me) and exciting heirlooms to try, I have never managed to grow either of those boys

They are great for newbies since they tend to be more hardy and productive than the heirlooms. Not across the board, of course, but in general.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 7:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)

sorry for the double post! It rejected my message at first, but it must have gone through, idk.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 7:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
eyeone1999(z6 Mass)

This is my first year to grow tomatoes and I have started Big Boy from seed. I think I started them too soon because it's early April and they're already over 2 ft. tall. I started them under lights and because they're so tall, I just bought a greenhouse for outside but the overnight temps are only in the 30's & 40's still. So, I just purchased a ceramic heater to keep them warm at night. Now, my question is - do the tomato plants need DIRECT sunlight in order to fruit? The greenhouse has a plastic covering to it that filters out direct sunrays, although it's bright in there. Will I need to move the plants out of the greenhouse to set them in direct sunlight each day? I sure hope not, I've got about 30 tomato plants started that I plan to give away to neighbors and family.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 4:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
HReynolds357

Big boy is one of the few varieties I have had very little success in growing. I throw away more to blossom end rot than I keep.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
butchfomby

blossom end rot...try adding a handful of epsom salt in planting hole...there may be a calcium-magnesium problem...the ratio...most soil has calcium, but plants like tomatoes use quite a bit of magnesium...ratio should be around 7 to 1 or 6 to 1 for plants to perform well...do not over water...if you do you cut off air to roots...make sure drainage is good...better boy is the world champion at crop production, but i am trying big boy this year...jet star does good here in okla....the indian

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 9:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
2ajsmama

Is Best Boy from Burpee anything like Better Boy, or are they just trying to capture some market share?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
OldDutch(4)

My mother grew Big Boy in her open ground garden in zone 4 for decades as her main variety. She never pruned them either or staked em, but she did fertilize the transplant water with MiracleGro and fertilized about half strength when she watered after that. I do not remember her ever having a crop failure with this variety. This was a farm garden and got a good spreader full of raw fertilizer plowed down in the fall. And then was retilled in the spring. It was also a clay based Iowa black dirt that had been garden for decades before I came along too; so it had to be handled carefully especially when wet, but we got very little BER. Try augmenting the soil with dolomite or epsom salts and if you use Peat Moss try switching to Coir for better pH which will help with the calcium and magnesium uptake problems that lead to BER.

I have been very impressed with Burpee's Fourth of July for an early snack tomato and Parks Better Bush ISI (I never saw one plant set so many slicer sized tomatoes - the squirrels around here got em all, too; so I didn't even get a taste test). For heirlooms try Delicious. IMO the Brandywines are over-rated and under productive on top of it. Recipes for cooking squirrel would also be appreciated ... (only about half kidding)

IIRC Burpee started the whole "Boy" line of hybrid beefsteak tomatoes in the first place, I see nothing wrong with them continuing to develop it. Or anybody else either for that matter.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 7:35PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
which tomato seeds to get?
Live in zone 9b (about 60 miles North of Galveston...
new-beginning
Row Covers for Frost Protection on early tomatoes?
I'm in southeast Ohio and I'm wanting to plant tomatoes...
hockingapple
Container cages
I need some design tips for putting a remesh cage on...
PupillaCharites
How many cherry tomatoes can I put in one 10 gallon pot?
Can I grow 3 or 4 plants together? It's to save me...
shijitake
Supermarket Tomato Plants
I planted a few seeds from Supermarket tomatoes because...
garf_gw
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™