Tomato plant suffering from tomato blight.

What’s Wrong With My Tomatoes?!

Whether you are an experienced gardener or just starting out, when you plan your garden the tomato plant is always on your list. It was the first thing we picked up when we bought our first seeds. Little did we know how many issues these common garden fruits could have.

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In this post I will take you through the most common tomato issues and ways to prevent or remedy them. Some can be cured, but most need to be minimized the best you can.

Sometimes it can be hard to identify exactly what is the cause of your tomatoes issues, but we’ll do our best to help you identify them.

Four Main Tomato Issues Are:

  • Tomato Splitting
  • Tomato Blight
  • Blossom End Rot
  • Anthracnose Of Tomatoes

There are definitely more issues with tomatoes that just these four, but these are the main ones we see in our garden. If there is another main one you want us to add please let us know in the comment section below.

Why Are My Tomatoes Splitting?

Picture of a tomato skin that has split apart.
Tomato Splitting

Having a tomato split apart while it’s still on the vine can be heartbreaking. You watch the tomato grow from a flower to it’s full size. Then it looks like it is ripening and when it’s almost done, BAM! It splits open.

We’ve had issues with splitting tomatoes every year. There are ways to minimize it happening, which I’ll get into shortly. But it always seems to happen at least a few times.

What Causes Tomato Splitting?

The main cause of tomato splitting is when they receive a lot of water after a dry spell. After the tomato receives the abundance of water it tries to grow to fast for the outer skin which causes the split.

How To Prevent Tomato Splitting?

One way to help prevent tomatoes from splitting is to water them evenly and consistently. This will help your tomatoes because they won’t go from dry conditions to a sudden surge of water.

Another way to prevent tomato splitting is to harvest your tomatoes as soon as they start to blush and ripen. A tomato is more susceptible to splitting when it is ripening and finished growing. The outer skin gets softer and therefore splits easier.

What Is Tomato Blight?

Tomato plant suffering from tomato blight.
Tomato blight on leaves

Blight is another very common tomato issue gardeners face. It is a disease that attacks both the leaves and the fruit of tomatoes. It also affects potatoes.

Blight is most common when the weather is wet and warm. We’ve seen it on our tomatoes starting at the end of July. Especially if we are seeing a lot of rainfall.

Tomato blight on fruit
Tomato blight on fruit
How To Minimize Tomato Blight?

There are several ways we can try to reduce the amount of blight we see in our gardens.

Crop Rotation

This is the first line of defence when you see blight in your garden. Rotating your crops to a different part of the garden could help prevent blight that might overwinter in your garden beds.

Plant Spacing

Spacing your tomatoes far enough away from each other to increase airflow can help reduce the likelihood of developing blight in the first place.

Catching Blight Early

Inspect your tomato plants regularly and if you see any sign of blight remove the affected leaves or fruit immediately.

Prune Your Tomatoes

This goes hand in hand with the plant spacing and catching blight early. Blight tends to start at the bottom of the plants closest to the soil. Removing low hanging leaves with clean garden pruners will increase airflow and lower the chance of blight. Always remove any leaves that show signs of blight.

What Is Blossom End Rot?

blossom end rot on a tomato
Blossom end rot

Blossom end rot is a issue with the bottom (blossom) end of the tomato. It can either be a sunken in section like in the picture above or it could keep the nature shape of the tomato but end up turning grey or black.

What Causes Blossom End Rot?

A lot of people thing blossom end rot is another fungal disease affecting tomatoes. In fact, blossom end rot is caused by a lack of calcium in the tomato.

This could be cause by low calcium levels in the soil but most of the time it is caused by improper watering. Either infrequent watering or a long drought can cause blossom end rot to occur.

In my personal opinion and experience, I believe blossom end rot is more likely to occur in elongated tomato varieties, like the very common Roma tomato variety. We’ve had multiple plants that were all watered and fertilized the same, but one variety called “Big Mama” (which is an elongated tomato) always seems to get blossom end rot.

How To Prevent Blossom End Rot?

Like I said above, blossom end rot is caused by a lack of calcium and most of the time it is an inconsistent watering schedule that is the main culprit.

The best way to prevent blossom end rot is the follow a watering schedule and use mulch to cover the soil to prevent any prolonged dry spells.

Can You Eat A Tomato With Blossom End Rot?

The simple answer is, yes. The rotted section of the tomato can be cut off and the rest of the tomato can be eaten but the flavour might not be the same as a healthy fruit.

What Is Anthracnose Of Tomatoes

Anthracnose of a tomato
Anthracnose of a tomato

Anthracnose is a slightly less common issue for tomatoes but when you get it, it is hard to get rid of. This disease starts out as small depressions in the tomato skin on ripe and ripening tomatoes.

It then quickly becomes larger and develops a black spot in the middle, which grows as the depression does.

How To Prevent Anthracnose?

Anthracnose lives on the ground mainly in dead leaf litter. The best way to prevent Anthracnose is by crop rotation.

Another way to help prevent Anthracnose from affecting your tomatoes is by keeping your plants staked and off the ground. Anthracnose can be spread by rainfall that splashes off the soil and up onto your plants.

Can You Eat A Tomato Affected By Anthracnose?

A tomato affected by anthracnose can still be eaten as long as the spots are still small and easily removed. Cut around the lesion and remove a good chunk of the flesh and the rest of the tomato can be eaten.

We hope you enjoyed this guide. If you did make sure you check out the other growing guides that we have, including our seed saving guides. We are growing our website with more articles all the time, and we invite you to grow with us. If you have any questions about tomato issues or would like to share some of your knowledge with us please leave a comment below.

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