Troubleshooting Tomatoes | Midwest Living

Troubleshooting Tomatoes

Tips for preventing the most common tomato ailments.
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One of the great gardening disappointments is picking a big, red tomato, only to find it's begun to rot. Here are some common tomato bugaboos and how to prevent them:

  • Blossom-end rot, which produces dried, black ends on the bottoms of tomatoes, is caused by low calcium, too little or too much water or excess fertilizer. A thick mulch and uniform watering will help prevent it.

  • Anthracnose appears as circular, slightly sunken spots with dark centers. Cleaning your garden of dead plants and foliage helps prevent the disease, and applying a fungicide on the foliage every 7 to 10 days provides control.

  • Soil rots begin as sunken spots with concentric markings on the tomatoes, usually beginning where they touch the ground. A fungus causes the disease. Stake tomatoes or use a thick mulch.

  • Stink bugs (they smell if you squish them) feeding on tomatoes produce cloudy, irregular white spots under the skin. You can eat the tomatoes; just peel them a little deeper. In mild cases, simply remove the bugs by hand.

  • Cracking occurs when heavy rains follow dry periods. To avoid this problem, grow crack-resistant varieties such as Show-Me or Conquest.


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