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Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

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Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  Megan on 8/8/2010, 5:09 pm

I have seen cracks in heirloom tomatoes before, and they are usually healed-over and don't do anything to affect the flavor of the tomato itself. This is the first time I have grown full-size (as opposed to pear or grape) tomatoes, though.... and I am rather alarmed by this appearance, I've never seen cracks so big. What is wrong here, if anything?? I have two green toms on this plant which only today I've started to see a blush of red on. They've been green for quite some time. The plants themselves are big, green and happy.

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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  Ha-v-v on 8/8/2010, 5:45 pm

I will be watching this topic for sure, I have the same issue, with the heirloom and lemon boy, not sure if the lemon boy are hybrid yet, forgot to look again. Mine are in the circular design. circling the stem. So glad you asked Smile
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Re: Stem-end cracks in Tomatoes

Post  janefss2002 on 8/8/2010, 5:51 pm

Hi Megan and Ha-v-v

I found this possible answer at the Texas A&M Extension service link below.

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/publications/tomatoproblemsolver/green/radial_crack.html

"radial cracking"

"Symptoms:
Fruit develop large cracks radiating out from the stem scar. Cracking may occur on green fruit. Cracks appear weathered and corky if they occur in green fruit. Fruit may develop any of a number of fungal fruit rots at the point of cracking.

Control:
Select varieties that have less cracking under your growing conditions. Prevent wide swings in moisture by even irrigation or mulching."

Hope this helps,
Jane
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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  Ha-v-v on 8/8/2010, 5:57 pm

Thank you so much Jane Smile
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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  Megan on 8/8/2010, 6:03 pm

Huh. That is weird, as I have been irrigating very regularly. Guess I will just find out. Thank you Jane!
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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  janefss2002 on 8/8/2010, 6:06 pm

Megan

Maybe temperature fluctuations are contributing. I got the impression that it is an environmental stress issue.


Ha-v-v

I have the same circular pattern on my very few tomatoes that are producing in this heat. It's a little hard to avoid (105 in Dallas now)! Things dry out so fast now. We are watering twice a day now.

Hoping for better weather for all soon and fall gardens getting off to a good start. Very Happy

Jane
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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  SFG in Chicago on 8/8/2010, 6:49 pm

I've had the same problem, as well as splitting across the middle of the fruit. It started for me after we had tons of rain and flooding a couple of weeks ago. My yard (and basement) was one big puddle. We've also had temperature fluctuations. I've tried to keep my watering even but not much I can do about Mother Nature!

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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  camprn on 8/8/2010, 7:01 pm

Limited water followed by a lot of water, the inside will grow faster than the skin.
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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  Ha-v-v on 8/9/2010, 8:32 am

The water fluctuating is a reality, from outrageous amounts of water from the rains to my daily watering. I will work on that as time goes by, Im just as happy with not so pretty fruit, Im just so happy to have tomatoes of any kind !!!! From no tomatoes for the previous 3 yrs to this I will take the funny looking ones. I figure I can fight one battle at a time and the worms and blight are under control somewhat. Smile
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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  Megan on 8/9/2010, 5:25 pm

@camprn wrote:Limited water followed by a lot of water, the inside will grow faster than the skin.
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That's what a master gardener told me, too. The funny part is, it wasn't limited water to begin with. I had actually been watering twice a day for 30 minutes at a time (and my sprinkler heads are 10 g/hr!) during the heat wave then these fruit started to form. But then we had a series of extremely intense thunderstorms just about every day (sometimes several a day)... so I guess water is relative!

Thanks for the replies, everyone.
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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  camprn on 8/9/2010, 9:05 pm

LOL. It's so true, everything's relative. According to some stuff I read, there are varieties that are a bit resistant to this cracking. But I have always seen this with home grown fruit. The farm sorts these blemished tomatoes out before the near perfect table fruit goes to market.
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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  Megan on 8/9/2010, 10:01 pm

I don't mind the blemishes, was just curious. I LIKE all the odd shapes and forms of the heirloom tomatoes... was just a bit excited by bigger cracks than I'd seen before.
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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  Ha-v-v on 8/9/2010, 11:17 pm

The watering is crazy here, I have had such a great amount of rain !! I love rain, it takes a job from me!!! But with the amounts etc I can see why I have cracks. Im ok with cracks because at least I have maters!! First year thanks to SFG !! and some tricks I learned for other things.
I take the part with the cracks and put it in the chicken bucket Smile They love us.
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Rutgers tomato

Post  junequilt on 8/10/2010, 6:48 pm

I have a Rutgers tomato that bears very small fruit. All of them seem to develop circumference cracks -- dunno why, since Rutgers is supposed to be crack-resistant. The tomatoes taste great, though, and the cracks never seem to develop any nasty stuff, unlike some other varieties.
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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  jerzyjen on 8/14/2010, 11:36 am

I've been away from the forums for a bit but I came back to ask this question. My Rutgers are also getting cracks coming out from the stem (similar to the photo above), but they dont crack until they turn red, the green ones are perfect. Anyway, the tomatos taste fabulous after I cut out the "cracked" part. I haven't noticed this with my lemon boys.

I'm not sure how to correct the problem. I water everyday through a timer and soaker hoses so they are getting regular water. Maybe I'll try mulching too, although I do have two of those red tomato trays around 2 of the plants and that doesnt seem to be making a difference.

I'm getting alot of fruits, nice and big and get a red one every other day, so I don't really mind, but it would be great if I could correct this problem and maybe share my fruits with others. I'd be too embarrased to share my cracked bounty.
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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  Megan on 8/14/2010, 11:42 am

Hi Jen,

The very same fruit I pictured above is the same one as here http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/general-sfg-talk-f5/my-cherokee-purple-let-s-see-yours-t3382-15.htm#28443

I sun-ripened it at the window, and it did fine. I finally saw a little mold in the cracks, at which point I decided it was ripe enough and sliced it up and ate it. It was delicious.

My in-laws have shared cracked heirloom tomatoes with me before and they have always been great. (I just panicked a bit when I saw them on my own plants, lol, guess I forgot!)

I wouldn't be ashamed at sharing cracked fruit (maybe not moldy, though!) You can just tell them it's a hallmark of being an heirloom. Smile It does seem to be a factor of sun and water, though... and given our wacky weather this year, I'm just happen to have a few ripe maters.
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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  kiwirose on 8/15/2010, 9:56 pm

I have a mixture of stem end cracked and perfect fruit. I am sure that my cracks are from intense heat and watering issues - I don't think my watering has been quite sufficient - never the less, I take my uglies and use them to make sauce and use in cooking, and my pretties I eat raw and in salads - no one is any the wiser and I don't waste any of the wonderful tasting fruit.

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Re: Stem-end cracks in tomatoes

Post  Megan on 8/15/2010, 10:15 pm

I just had insult added to injury... my second tomato (yes, I'm counting so far) not only had the radial cracks as a greenie but also popped after it ripened. SO sad.... (but I'm still going to eat it!)
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