problems with Tomatoes

(Question)

I have attached a picture of some of my tomoatoes from last years crop. I grow in a raised bed. In the first few years they were perfect. IN the last few years I have had the problem with black spots and cracking. The beds were originally filled with soil and shrimp compost as that was receommended to me. I have not supplemented the soil with anything in the past 5 years. The garden has a northern exposure so gets full sun all day. Many thanks for all your help

(Answer)

Hello,

Cracking of tomatoes results when the internal growth is faster than skin growth, which can be caused by over-fertilization or extreme fluctuations in temperature or soil moisture, e.g. a dry spell followed by rains. As well, some varieties are more prone to cracking than others. The black spots may result  from a fungus or from bacteria. ‘Big Beef’ variety tomatoes are resistant to most diseases, including cracking.

Other information on growing tomatoes including fertilizing and soil amendments can  be found at http://www.veseys.com/ca/en/learn/guide/veginfo/tomatoes, or previous Ask A Master Gardener questions. Missouri Botanical Garden has a well illustrated site on Tomato Fruit Problems at

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/visual-guides/tomato-fruit-problems.aspx

Hope this year’s tomato crop are ‘cracking’ free.