The Better Boy is a hybrid tomato that is prized by home growers for its median maturity rate (70-75 days), and consistently excellent smooth-skinned fruits with a classic flavor. They are extremely popular thanks to their resistance to Verticillium and Fusarium Wilt. They are indeterminate and best-suited to cages or tepee-style staking.
Best Soil for Growing Better Boy Tomatoes
Any good tomato-growing soil is great for Better Boys. A good nutrient balance and slight acidity (pH of 6.5-7.0) is prime for these favorites. Although they are resistant to the more common wilting diseases, it’s still best to rotate Better Boy tomatoes as you would any other quality crop.
Proper Care of Better Boy Tomatoes
Better Boy hybrids are one of the more care-free of the tomato crops home gardeners enjoy. Plants should be put in the ground (or raised bed) when all danger of frost is past. They require about 72 days to bear ripe fruit, on average, so most areas will have plenty of growing season for these love apples. Give plenty of space for expansion – at least 36 inches between plants. They grow large under good conditions.
Use stakes, hoops or other supports to hold them upright and pinch off early buds and shoots to encourage plant growth for maximum yield. Add a balanced (10-10-10) fertilizer or compost to the soil about halfway through the season. Water frequently, but do not drown the plants. Water is especially important once fruit has appeared in order to maximize growth and avoid splitting and end rot.
When to Harvest Better Boy Tomatoes
Harvest when the tomatoes are firm and round and a full red color. This will begin to happen at about the 70 day mark under good growing conditions, a little later if something has affected the plants. Most Better Boys are fully ripe by 80 days and nearly all yields will be complete by 90 days.
Better Boy Tomato Pests and Diseases
While Better Boys are generally disease resistant and will suffer little or no disease if properly rotated, they are susceptible to almost all predators. As with other tomato varieties, encourage beneficial insects such as ladybugs, dragon flies, and even birds.
Watering at ground level (drip or furrow) in the morning rather than evening will avoid many other problems.
How to Prepare Better Boy Tomatoes
Better Boy yields can be used for just about anything tomatoes are favored for. They are juicy, have few seeds, and if just ripe, they are crisp as well. Better Boys make great salad slices, sandwich tomatoes, sauces, salsas, stew additions, and more. Even green Better Boys are less bitter than most other varieties and make for good frying or pickling.
Tips for Growing Better Boy Tomatoes
The real secret to this favored hybrid is to start them from seed indoors and give 6-8 weeks to gain size and stamina before transplanting. Because of its size, Better Boy is not generally a good container tomato, but it is often a favorite porch-side and kitchen garden variety. They can be grown in large buckets (5 gallons) as well.
Soil nutrition is key to having great yields with these tomatoes. Be sure the soil is ready for the plants when you transplant and keep it nutritious by adding compost at least once (preferably twice) during the season.