Tomatoes are the most popular garden plant in America. Not surprisingly, many people have endless questions about tomato growing. Recently, the most commonly asked question I have heard is regarding tomato cracking, and how to prevent that.
Tomatoes crack when environmental conditions (drought followed by heavy rain or watering) encourage rapid growth during ripening. Some cracks may be deep, allowing decay organisms to enter the fruit and cause fruit rot. The best method of prevention is to maintain even soil moisture with regular watering and mulch. Some varieties are crack-tolerant, such as: Early Girl, Roma, Heinz 1439, First Lady, Ball’s Beefsteak and Rutgers.
Sunscald is another condition that occurs when tomatoes are exposed to the direct rays of the sun during hot weather. It is most common on green fruit. It too forms cracks along the top of the fruit. Decay causing fungi frequently invade the damaged tissue. When you see sunscald, the the best thing to do is cover exposed fruits. If you curb pruning, allowing more leaves to grow over top of the fruit, the plant will take care of this, on it's own. Controlling leaf diseases will help, also.
Leaf Roll is another hot topic among tomato growers. Leaf roll may be caused by high temperatures, prolonged periods of wet soil conditions, and drought. It may also occur when tomatoes are pruned severely . The symptom is mostly on older leaves, with an upward curling of the leaflets, but may progress to affect up to 75 percent of the foliage. The rolled leaves may feel leathery and stiff. Often the condition of leaf roll occurs once the plants are under the stress of a heavy fruit set. Some varieties are more prone to leaf roll than others. Prevention and treatment strategies include planting on well-drained soil and be irrigating during periods of drought. The good thing is leaf roll is not life threatening, for the plant.
If you have suggestions for tomato growing, please post them here! Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest.