Most of us have seen cracks in a tomato that reveal a portion of stretched inner meat. The phenomenon is often found in plump, mature tomatoes. If picked right way, cracked tomatoes can definitely still be edible, although the dried skin around the cracks is not tasty and has to be removed.
Unfortunately, exposed tomato flesh almost seems to be an invitation to creatures and insects to hop on board and taste test. The longer it stays on the vine, the more prone it is to attract fungus and bacteria. This is not a feature of tomato growth that a gardener usually enjoys.
Why Does This Happen?
One good way to understand why tomatoes split in varying degrees is to compare the cracks to stretch marks. When people gain weight or muscle mass quickly, the human body may form stretch marks in order to keep excess fat completely covered with skin.
Some tomatoes grow so quickly that the epidermis and cells simply do not have the ability to stretch over the new growth. Instead of forming stretch marks like a human, tomatoes simply split.
Basically, this happens because tomatoes get too much water during a period of time, and grow too quickly, also called “tomato water stress.”
Sometimes a gardener can stress tomatoes out with irregular watering techniques. Cracking often occurs when tomatoes go through a period of dryness followed by excessive ‘make up’ watering.
The dry spell followed by an excessively moist spell can cause the inner flesh of the fruit to grow much faster than the epidermis can stretch.
What Can You Do?
Preventive measures are always best. To keep your tomatoes from cracking, try to set up a consistent watering schedule. Don’t wait for the tomato soil to become completely dry before it gets watered.
The best solution is to set up a drip watering system that constantly and evenly waters your tomatoes during the day.
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