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.
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).