Cracking tomatoes

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by Mouse, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. Mouse

    Mouse Well-Known Member

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    Most of my tomatoes are cracking before they turn to their perfect red or pink color. What am I doing wrong? Is this too much water, too little water? Or something wrong in my soil? I also have some tomatoes that are motley colored, red, orange, yellow and sometimes green, very odd.

    Thanks,
    Marion
     
  2. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden Well-Known Member

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    Mine have done this too in the past. I heard it's from inconsistant watering? This year I'm experimenting and have 8 of my plants with a gallon milk just with pin holes in the bottom buried between every two plants. I fill these every other day. The others will be watered everyother day the way I always have. I will be interested to see if it works and prevents cracking.

    kids
     

  3. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The cracking is due to fluctuations in water - if it rains at the wrong time there isn't much you can do to stop it. If your temps are extremely high that can affect the color - they do not turn red if temps are above 95. We have been picking at half ripe - they will continue to ripen naturally (takes about a week on a shelf) and helps avoid splitting as we find it usually occurs when the fruit is further along.
     
  4. Pony

    Pony STILL not Alice Supporter

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    Also, different types of tomatoes are more susceptible to cracking than others. Certain older heirlooms, for example, crack a bit more than newer hybrids.

    Of course, we could get into the discussion of open-pollination v. hybridization, or taste vs. looks...

    But :shrug: crack happens. ;)

    Pony!
     
  5. rwinsouthla

    rwinsouthla Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It's from too little or infrequent watering then TOO MUCH water frequently. You probalby have some slightly undersized maters too.
     
  6. woodspirit

    woodspirit Well-Known Member

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    Mulching will keep the soil evenly moist, and that will prevent cracking.
     
  7. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Some varieties are just plain prone to splitting. Many of the cherry tomatoes are that way due to trying to find a skin which will make the most gardeners happy. Those that never split are usually those with tough skins. Those that split usually have the thinnest skins. Somehow there are few that are perfect.

    Also, many good old utility or canner varieties are known for shoulder cracks. I've got 3 or 4 of them doing that but don't worry about it. The quality of what is inside is more important than looks.

    Martin
     
  8. turtlehead

    turtlehead Well-Known Member

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    Good to hear you say that, Martin. If mine have some cracks and the cracks look clean, I just skin them and process them as if they were beautiful.
     
  9. GeorgiaberryM

    GeorgiaberryM Well-Known Member

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    We planted alot of different tomatoes this year - 14 varieties. I sell them to our small town general store, so culling is a big chore. It has been a long hot dry summer, as usual, and we watered the garden this year with soaker hoses, which worked great. We also had a couple drenching rains, after which we did see more cracking overall. But I noticed that there was far more cracking within certain varieties than others, no matter the water situation. And the worst culprit was the "444" tomato. We paid a pretty penny for these plants, and a friend who grew them paid 34cents a piece!!! for the seeds. They are supposed to be a very disease resistant market variety - and that part was true. We didn't lose a single plant. Nary a spot on leaf or fruit. But the cracks - oh my! Very productive though, and we sold them, cracked or not, without any problem. But the Superfantastic in the same bed didn't crack at all, with the same water application, so I guess this is a complicated problem with a lot of factors. And for market gardeners it can be critical.
     
  10. VALENT

    VALENT Well-Known Member

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    34 cents per seed!! Wow, that is up there. But it sounds like they may be worth it.
     
  11. Pony

    Pony STILL not Alice Supporter

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    I just came in from the garden; picked about 20 pounds of tomatoes.

    The Cherokee Purple has shoulder cracking, but I don't care -- it tastes GREAT!! I thought Homely Homer would have cracking, but there are none at all on those. :shrug: I am having a minor catfacing issue with the CP's as well, but since I am not marketing them, no biggy.

    One of the articles about catfacing suggested growing a tomato called Homestead, which I did. I find Homestead to be particularly unimpressive, though. It's not really any better than the tomatoes I can buy at the grocer's this time of year. It's pretty, but I won't be including it in next year's garden (on purpose, anyway).

    Pony!
     
  12. Charleen

    Charleen www.HarperHillFarm.com Supporter

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    When tomatoes are cracking it's time to do some root pruning. Take a spade and shove the blade straight into the dirt on one side of the plant, about 8-10 inches from the stem.