Why Tomatoes Crack When Growing

If you have grown tomatoes you’ve experienced “tomato cracks” which is one of the many tomato problems you’ll encounter.

Sometimes called “growth cracks” and usually associated with excessive watering, rainy periods and dry weather which lead to cracking and most of the times scattered on the garden soil.

cracked tomato

Cracking results as a way to relieve the pressure which could be caused by excessive soil moisture and other reasons.

For helpful info on ways to handle the problem cracking tomato problem, read the rest of the article below:

Growing tomatoes is sometimes a gamble. You have to play the odds against diseases, vegetable garden pests, or high heat temperatures ruining your crop.

You may succeed in preventing all the above scenarios when growing tomatoes, but then encounter another problem of splitting or cracking. This could happen in many tomato varieties and even on cherry tomatoes.

What Causes Tomatoes to Split or Crack?

Splitting of a tomato fruit can occur in two forms;

Radial cracking –  These are more intense and spread from the stem down the sides of the tomato.

Concentric cracking – This is where tomato cracking develops in a circular pattern around where the tomato is attached to the stem.

Cracks develop mostly because of fluctuations in watering (try this tomato watering option). This can be as a result of having periods of dry weather, followed by sudden heavy rains that overwhelm the tomatoes.

Cracking and splitting tomatoes are most prevalent during the maturity stages when the tomatoes are beginning to ripen.

When ripe tomatoes appear during the dry weather, the outer skin toughens up and thickens.

A sudden influx of water brought by the heavy rain cause the tomato to continue growing on the inside.

The inner growth later causes the thickened outer skin to rift resulting in a crack or split.

Sometimes a tomato can close the crack (heal itself), and these will result in something that looks like a stitch.

Tomato Tip: Learn how trimming tomato plants helps produce more tomatoes.

A Cracked Tomato Fit For Consumption?

Depending on the severity of the splitting, the tomato can still be consumed. A tomato that has a wide crack can act as a reservoir of fungus, bacteria and mold as it can attract fruit flies.

Avoid any split or cracked tomato when doing tomato canning.

However, you can cut around the cracks and use the good parts in sandwiches, salads, sauces, and salsas.

The taste of the tomato is not affected in the parts not cracked.

If you spot a tomato that is close to ripening and is beginning to crack, remove it from the plant and let it continue to ripen on the kitchen counter or windowsill.

Leaving it on the plant will worsen the situation as it will continue to absorb water and the crack will continue to widen.

How Do you Prevent Cracking or Splitting in Tomatoes?

Keep Water Supply Regular -The best way to prevent the cracking or splitting of tomatoes is by keeping your watering frequency consistent and regular.

It’s better to water your tomatoes deeply at regular basis than watering them sporadically and shallowly. Make sure that you’ve got a regular plan for watering, which adjusts to the amount of rain received.

Plant Crack-Resistant Varieties – these varieties have elastic skin. They include Daybreak, Earl of Edgecombe, Early Girl, Heinz 1350, Juliet, Valley Girl, Mountain Delight, and Mountain Pride.

Apply Balanced Fertilizer – when blossoming and fruiting, tomatoes require more potassium and phosphorus. Excessive nitrogen will cause excessive growth, leading to cracking. Conduct a soil test first to determine the amount of nutrients present in the soil before adding more.

Avoid Over-Fertilizing – Over fertilizing your tomatoes with excess nutrients can lead to a growth spurt. We always use Epsom salt on tomato plants when planting seedlings to give them a boost and reduce transplant shock.

Additional Tip

If the tomato plant dries up, don’t water them too much as that can set up the condition for splitting.

Once it has recovered from the dry spell, re-establish the regular watering schedule in a systematic way.

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