Last year, the problem I had with my tomatoes was Blossom End Rot. Well, though I’ve had a little trouble with that this year, my main problem has been splitting tomatoes.
I’ve done some reading on this problem, hoping to prevent it next time around. Here is what I’ve found…
What causes tomatoes to crack, or split?
- The tomatoes grew too quickly. Any of the following reasons could be the culprit:
- They got too hot during the day, then cooled too quickly at night.
- Too much rain or over watering. (When this happens, the tomato’s skin can’t stretch enough to absorb all of the extra water, and it cracks.)
- Over fertilizing.
How do you prevent the problem?
- Don’t prune the leaves too much. When the tomatoes are exposed to the sun, they overheat. The shade from the leaves helps keep the tomatoes from getting too hot.
- Spraying the leaves to prevent foliar diseases helps maintain the shade of the leaves.
- If too many leaves are lost, a simple shade over the plants on extremely hot, sunny days will help protect the exposed tomatoes.
- Mulch around your plants to help regulate soil moisture.
- Add compost every so often, or buy a vegetable fertilizer and don’t use it more than directed.
- Water at regular intervals, only as much as is needed. If it has rained a lot, reduce your watering. Try to keep it consistent, and don’t let them dry out too much before watering again.
- Use drip irrigation or a soaker hose on a timer to water frequently.
After learning all of this I can completely understand why my tomatoes are cracking. I have not watered consistently. We’ve had very hot, sunny days, and dry spells before a heavy thunderstorm would roll in. Plus, the leaves on my plants have all dried up and fallen off. My poor tomatoes are completely exposed. So, yeah. My neglected fruits have been exposed to all of the above.
Fortunately, you can still eat split tomatoes. Just cut the bad part off and eat the rest. Oh well, live and learn! Next year will be better.
I’d love to know if you have any other tricks to keeping your ‘maters from splitting!