Cracked tomatoes

Cracked tomatoes.


Cracked tomatoes are a product of erratic watering, just as are tomato leaf curl and blossom end rot. According to the Tomato Dirt website, cracking occurs when tomato plants get too much water too fast. As the tomato fruits absorb extra water from rain or irrigation, they expand too fast and their skin cracks. Cracks are ugly, as can be seen above, but the prognosis is not so dire as in the case of blossom end rot, where the fruits are ruined and must be discarded.

The cracks themselves are ugly enough in the photo above, but they are accompanied, I think, unfortunately, by some stink bug damage, seen best on the left in the photo above. Do stink bugs like cracked tomatoes best. I think that’s a good possibility. I haven’t discovered a stink bug on a tomato plant as yet this summer, but I look forward to inflicting as much or more damage on a stink bug as it has inflicted on my tomatoes, cracked or otherwise.

With cracked tomatoes, usually at least half to the tomato fruit is salvageable. The photos above are of the same ugly tomato with the cracked and disfigured top eliminated. Of course, a perfect tomato fruit is preferable, but, hey, half is better than nothing at all. This bottom half was perfectly ripe and absolutely delicious.

Cracks can be concentric, running around the stem end of the fruit, or they can be radial, extending outward and downward from the stem. The cracks above are obviously radial.


My Celebrity tomatoes, determinate slicers, seen on the right in the above photo, are more plagued by cracking. The other slicer variety this summer, New Girl tomatoes, seen at the left in this photo, do not have the same problem at all. Not in the least. Not even 1 tomato. Cracking won’t make me give up on Celebrity tomatoes. They are heavy producers. They are determinate and therefore don’t take up the room that indeterminates, like New Girls, take up. But eliminating the cracking problem would be a good thing.

It’s been a dry summer, at least in our area of New Jersey. Maybe my soaker hoses are the problem, but when I check relative moisture with a water meter, all the raised beds register about the same amount of moisture.

Cracked tomatoes aren’t the worst problem in the world, for sure, but perfect tomatoes are nicer.

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