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Why do my tomatoes look like this?

This is my first spring/summer garden, so I was very excited to see a large number of big green tomatoes on my plants. But the first 4 that have started to turn red have all looked like the ones in the photo.

Based on the photo, can anyone tell me what the issue is with my tomatoes, and how to resolve it?

Thanks for any feedback

- Steve

 
When a tomato is nearly ripe and it receives a lot of water cracking will result.
 
[hr]Beyond the mountains, there are more mountains.
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Mulch your tomato plants with wet cardboard and mulch, this will keep the moisture level and temp more even, it is the fluctuations that cause the cracking.

Too hot and dry, and then too much water.
 
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I mulched mine yesterday with a layer of fresh grass clippings and then a layer of straw on top of that.

In addition to keeping the moisture level even it will prevent soil pathogens from splashing up onto your tomato plants.
 

 Zone 7b  Southeastern PA

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That looks like it might be "catfacing" caused by inadequate pollination due tro cool and/or too wet weather at fruit set.
 

The sign of a good gardener is not a green thumb, it is brown knees.

West central Michigan along the lakeshore.

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Thanks very much for the replies.

I have always maintained a good ground cover of leaves. I water them about every two or three days putting the hose right at the base of the plant for a while. I haven't had to water as much the past few weeks as we've finally gotten a few good downpours here in Austin.

It sounds like I need to water them a bit less.
 
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the first tomatoes of the season are not infrequently a bit weird.

the big hole on the pix right tomato is insect damage. it happens.

but the rather extreme splitting in the pix is not a question of too much or too little water, but more likely an issue of uneven moisture.

as pointed out above, as a tomato gets big / ripens, a sudden influx of "free water" can cause the fruits to absorb/store more water faster than the physical structure can accommodate. basically the fruit "bursts" - that's the splits.

obviously, one cannot control "the rain" - but you should look at the irrigation/watering practices.

there's an old guideline - stick your finger into the soil (note: past the mulch depth)
if the soil is dry past the middle knuckle, you need to water - 1/2 inch or more.

in an extreme climate - hot&dry all the time - you might need to reduce that "to the first knuckle"

not to despair - uneven moisture only affects the enlarging / ripening fruits - correcting the habits/problem will make for good 'maters
 
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You didn't say what kind of tomatoes those are. Some varieties are more prone to cracking than others, and some are just shaped weird. I bet they still taste great. I'm envious, my tomatoes are just starting to bloom, it will be quite a while before I have ripe tomatoes!
 
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They are Early Black tomatoes. It's hard to keep the soil moisture consistent since the garden plot is at a community garden where I really can't take advantage of drip irrigation, unless I want to camp out there for hours on end.

Regardless, lesson learned, thanks for the advice everyone.
 
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quote:
I have always maintained a good ground cover of leaves.

here's a strange&weird one from yesterday....
(long story) I've got a retaining wall that needs to be rebuilt, so I have not done anything with the patch behind it. last fall I chopped up/collected the leaves with the (bagging) mower and put those on the garden as a winter cover.
yesterday I was poking around and noticed the soil under the leaf mulch was bone dry - the soil under the 3-4 inches of fresh-this-spring grass clippings was nicely moist. so I kept poking around and "confirmed" the oddity.

as to why the leaf mulch lets the soil dry out moreso than the grass clippings, no clue. I thought it might be that the leaf mulch did not allow as much water to pass through - but the leaf mulch section is quite 'flat' and the grass clipping mulch areas have some slope to them. rain we have had aplenty....

anyone else experience / seen this?
 
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Pick them a little early,
and ripen your mature tomatoes,
on your kitchen sink or
"down stairs" ??

This way, your tomatoes won't go to waste.
There's organic, I suppose ?

lol
bill in socal
 
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This is a good site for IDing problems, not strictly organic solutions.

Dirt

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu...tomatoproblemsolver/
 
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Wiki, it's just a guess on my part but I'd say that the fresh grass clippings had a lot of moisture in them that got drawn into the soil while the leaves had little moisture when placed there. I've found that chopped up leaves don't hold moisture nearly as well as whole ones. Was noticing yesterday that the areas of the garden where the chopped-up leaves were spread are now the perfect moisture level to work while the areas where the whole ones were piled is still much too wet. The bottom couple of inches of leaves in that area are still saturated (and full of earthworms Cool!!)and holding that moisture in my mostly clay areas.
Not to hijack your thread, Steve, I think those maters look absolutely wonderful!!! Unless you're growing for sale, don't worry too much how they look. And, even if you're growing for sale, if you give your customers samples of your "ugly tomatoes" they'll be sold I'll bet.
 

“We’re gypsies in the palace, he’s left us here alone The order of sleepless knights will now assume the throne.”

 

western Kentucky, the land between the rivers

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Looks like an heirloom tomato to me, or some lineage in it is heirloom, which means they don't have the perfect look of hybrid tomatoes. They are huge and red, and early! Hurray! Do you like the flavor? That's really what matters. People these days know the heirlooms look weird, but we are all looking for that magical flavor.

Every tomato I've ever grown that has Black anywhere in the name has cracked for me, so they are too delicate in my world. Smiler
 
============= Love your soil.....feed your worms... (Used to be Sweetpea, contributing here since 2002)
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