kcinaz
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Location: Arizona

My tomatoes keep splitting open.

I'm a brand new gardener and have four tomato plants growing in my garden right now. My celebrity plant has grown really well, but I have only been able to harvest about three tomatoes off of it. After that, all of the tomatoes start to split open starting near the stem and working their way down. Does anyone know what would cause this? I live in Surprise, AZ, which is just west of Phoenix, so the temps here are in the 100s right now. I have them in a raised bed, which drains better than I would like using the soaker hose for 1/2 hour. This week I've started watering twice a day. Do I need to kick it up to three times a day?

Like I said, I'm brand new at this, so I have a feeling that I'm doing a lot of things wrong.

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Kisal
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When tomatoes split their skins, it's usually a sign of uneven watering. The plant dries out too much, then receives a lot of water, and the fruit expands to the point the skin splits open.

In hot weather, you may need to water 2 or more times a day to prevent this from happening.

Have you investigated drip irrigation systems? They work quite well in raised beds. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

kcinaz
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We haven't tried the drip system over there yet. We put the garden together really fast and we don't have any water lines over there, so we have the soaker attached to the garden hose. I think we'll give that idea a try once the weather cools down and my husband is willing to go out there and put a drip system over there.

TZ -OH6
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Are these nearly ripe tomatoes or green tomatoes? You can pick them as soon as they show color and let them ripen indoors without losing any flavor. Most water splitting happens after the fruits start to soften when nearly ripe. Some varieties are genetically predisposed to getting short, deep splits near the stem while still green. Those usually heal and can be cut out.

kcinaz
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Location: Arizona

These are green tomatoes. If I leave them, they split open worse. It is on my Celebrity plant that I am having the problem. I've readjusted my watering schedule and watering more frequently, so hopefully that will help. My raised garden beds drain way too much and so I am wondering if maybe the soil just isn't holding enough moisture. We filled them with a compost and manure mix and the water just runs right through. After this season, were going to try mixing in some top soil and peat moss to see if that helps matters.

cynthia_h
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My raised beds contain a combination of composts (from different sources), vermiculite, peat *sigh* but only one time never again, and a bit of native soil for micro-organisms it contains.

They drain well but not excessively; their depths range from approx. 8 inches to 12 inches.

I also have roses and other plants in the soil, which I top-dress with compost and feed occasionally with very dilute liquid kelp. I only water the roses every 7 to 10 days, partly because of water conservation but partly because the soil is still cool without being dry after such a period of time.

Perhaps a mulch would help your raised beds retain moisture. It would definitely reduce evaporative losses.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

kcinaz
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Actually, now that you mentioned mulch, I remembered that it's not a compost and manure mix. It's actually a mulch and manure mix about 8 to 10 inches deep. After not even 10 minutes of the soaker hose, the water is pooling in the rock paths between the boxes.

I'm guessing that peat moss didn't work too well for you. I'll try the other soil mixture combinations and hopefully that will work better next time.

I didn't have the highest expectations for my first garden, so at least I'm not feeling too disappointed:)

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rainbowgardener
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tomatoes in Phoenix

It's a tough climate for growing tomatoes. Tomatoes like even moisture, never drying out (but not staying WET either) and they like temps in the 70's and 80's. Above that they can start getting heat stressed. And I read somewhere that over 100 they won't ripen, so you might need to pick yours green. You might want to try shading yours with some row cloth to filter the sun. You could mist the row cloth and provide some evaporative cooling also.

In your climate you probably would do better growing tomatoes later in the year. In fall, when they are about done here in Ohio, they might be thriving for you. Also for the future look at local nurseries for heat tolerant varieties. They have names like sunmaster, solarset, etc and have been bred to keep producing in hot weather.

kcinaz
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Location: Arizona

I think you're probably right. I have them shaded, but it is just too darn hot here for them in the summertime. I saw some of the heat resistant varieties at Home Depot, where I bought everything. I'll give those a try next time too. Maybe towards the end of October or November, my plants will start coming back. Thanks for all of the tips.

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Gary350
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My parents live in Tempe Arizona. I know they plant early and have ripe tomatoes the last week of May. I know they have problems with the tomatoes when the temperature gets really hot it was 106 degrees there today. My parents tell me it is too hot to grow good tomatoes in Arizona.

It gets hot here in Tennessee where I live and when the temperature is 100+ degrees my tomatoes sometimes get sun burn. I have learned to use a lot of nitrogen this produces a lot of leaves for shade. I also plant my plants very close this growds them a lot and makes more shade and they do better. You might want to try shading your plants.

kcinaz
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Location: Arizona

My husband put up a shade the first week in June. My romas are filled with fruit, although several have had blossom end rot and have been eaten from the inside out by something. I just picked a few of the romas this week. My last really good tomatoes were back in mid-May. I guess I just need to plant early and late in the year, like many of you have said. It's supposed to get to 116 this weekend, so I'm thinking my plants aren't going to be doing so great after that.

At least my Okra is starting to grow fruit:)

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