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Here’s How to Prevent Your Tomatoes From Splitting

A tomato splitting while hanging on the vine.

Growing delicious tomatoes can be a proud moment for any home gardener. However, seeing split skin all over your precious harvest can destroy your sense of pride. Thankfully, you can say goodbye to those frustratingly split tomatoes with some proper gardening techniques! 

We’ve got the juicy scoop on how to prevent those little red gems from splitting: water deeply, mulch thoroughly, harvest early, and provide adequate drainage.

Before we dive into the tomato-saving tactics, let’s uncover the mystery behind those pesky splits. Nature can be both generous and cruel, and in this case, the occasional bursts of rain followed by the blazing sun wreak havoc on beautiful tomatoes.

When tomatoes experience rapid fluctuations in moisture levels, they grow in uneven spurts. After a heavy downpour, tomatoes absorb excessive water, causing their insides to swell. Sometimes this swell happens much faster than the exterior skin grows. The result is that dreaded split.

K-Brands Tomato Cage

Tomatoes thrive with a sturdy cage to climb.

One of the best ways to avoid the splitting catastrophe is by paying close attention to your tomatoes’ growth and ripening stages. As tomatoes mature and approach the peak of ripeness, they become more susceptible to splitting. As soon as you spot the first signs of ripening, be prepared to harvest your tomatoes.

You can also help your tomatoes by adding more consistency to their watering routine. Don’t rely on random rains to hydrate your tomato plant. Aim for consistent watering, especially during dry spells. 

Slow, deep watering directly at the base of the plant helps maintain steady moisture levels without overwhelming your tomatoes with excess water.

Remember that mulch is your ally. Adding a generous layer of mulch around your tomato plants works wonders in regulating soil moisture. Mulch acts as a protective blanket, shielding the soil from rapid evaporation and maintaining a more stable environment for your precious fruits.

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Every gardener needs a quality set of gardening tools.

Ensuring your tomato has adequate drainage by planting them in pots or raised beds is another great way to manage their water. Rather than facing hectic fluctuations due to rain, a well-draining tomato plant can absorb the moisture it needs without getting water-swelled.

Proper tomato care can be a bit of a dance. Don’t stress yourself out too much if you end up with a few splitting fruits. If you’re dealing with too many tomatoes with splits than you can handle, remember that pruning can be a helpful tactic. 

Pruning helps control the number of tomatoes the plant produces, allowing it to concentrate its energy on fewer fruits. With fewer tomatoes vying for attention, each one can receive more nutrients, reducing the risk of splitting.

As much as we try to protect our precious tomatoes, it’s essential to remember that nature can be wonderfully unpredictable. Some years, the conditions may be just right for a bountiful, split-free harvest, while other times, the weather may have other plans. Go easy on yourself and enjoy the process of gardening.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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