What’s Wrong with My Tomatoes?

Gina McG. texted me this photo and asked, “What’s Wrong with My Tomatoes?”

I texted back:  “This looks like to much water, which is a common problem, especially with all the rain we’ve had. Thank goodness we only get stretch marks when we grow too fast!”

Gina replied that she was growing her tomatoes in containers inside her screened-in lanai.  Below, I have elaborated on the information I gave her.

Gina's Mater

At the time this photo was taken, we had had more than our fair share of rain. Too much water causes rapid growth for many plants. The tomatoes were growing faster than their skins could stretch, which caused the skins to split open.

If the splits are very recent, and are not too large, you can simply cut away the exposed portion of the tomato, and eat the remainder.  If you have been away for a few days, and the problem has gone unnoticed,  pests and/or disease could have infiltrated most or all of the tomato. In that case, simply toss it — preferably into your compost bin. From what I can see in this photo, I believe the top half of this one should be trashed. Maybe all of it, but I wouldn’t know for sure without cutting into it and seeing the inside.

Unfortunately, there is not much we can do about too much rain on our gardens. On the other hand, if you are growing your ‘maters in containers, simply take them into a covered area whenever they have had too much rain.

During extremely hot weather, container-grown plants will need more water than those planted in the ground. A good way to monitor moisture is to put your finger into the soil. If the top inch is dry, add some water. Use a saucer to catch the water that drains out of the bottom of the container. The plant will soak up water from the saucer, BUT be sure to pour off any water that remains in the saucer after about 30 minutes has passed, as most plants don’t like wet feet (aka, roots).

6 responses to “What’s Wrong with My Tomatoes?

  1. I’ve always wondered about those cracks. Now I finally know. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing that it could be something so simple, huh?

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  3. I would have never known it was from too much water. My tomatoes are in a large container and I tend to water them a lot. It doesn’t have drainage, instead it has pots under the dirt so the water does under those.
    Now you have me thinking.

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  4. Maria, you will be happy to learn I did salvage as much as I could from those yummy “dermaters”. And now I am delighted to learn I can plant some more…so different from growing season in the North East. Thinking of planting cherry or grape tomatoes this time. What is your opinion on those vs patio tomatoes…as I have to limit myself to pots?
    Gina

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    • I am so glad you did. Isn’t it great that we can grow tomatoes year-round here? I’ve never been able to do that before. You either, huh?

      I especially like the little grape tomatoes. They are so sweet, and are often small enough that I can just pop one into my mouth. A large pot is fine. Those plants will grow into a vine, so you will definitely need to insert a tomato cage, or at least 3 tall stakes. Do this while the plant is still small, so the stakes don’t damage the roots when inserted. As the plant grows, you will need to tie it loosley to the stakes. I used to use the legs of old pantyhose, but that wasn’t very pretty. I now use a product that I got at Ace Hardware, but you can probably get it at any garden center. It is a light green velcro tape, and comes on a roll like tape. It sticks to itself, but is very soft and won’t damage the plant. About those stakes, I have some really tall ones that are coated in dark green plastic, so they don’t rust. I got them at Lowe’s but, again, you can probably get them most anywhere. I’m so glad you aren’t giving up on growing tomatoes. We’ll have to compare notes on both of ours.

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