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Crack-Resistant Tomato Varieties

Tomato yellow pear1

Tomato yellow pearTomato fruits crack when the soil moisture level fluctuates–a dry spell followed by rain, or the soil drying out followed by heavy irrigation. Cracks start at the stem end and radiate out from the shoulder of the fruit.

Avoid tomato cracking. To avoid tomato cracking keep the soil evenly moist all growing season. Do not allow the soil to completely dry out. To check soil moisture, insert your finger into the soil 3 or 4 inches–your finger should come away just moist, not wet or dry. For mature tomato plants it is acceptable for the top inch of soil to dry–but the soil below should remain moist allowing plants to draw up soil moisture consistently.

One way to keep soil moisture even is to complete an even watering and then mulch around your tomatoes. Mulching will slow soil moisture evaporation. An alternative to mulching would be laying plastic sheeting over the planting beds and then watering at the base of the plant. Mulch and plastic can be applied after the soil warms in spring.

You can also choose crack-resistant tomato varieties for planting; a list follows below.

Finally, when a tomato cracks, harvest it right away before rot takes over. Then check the soil to a depth of about 4 inches every other day to make sure the soil is retaining moisture.

Crack-Resistant Tomato Varieties:

Arkansas Traveler. 80 days. Pink, slicing.

Big Beef. 70 days. Indeterminate; globe shaped, hybrid.

Big Boy. 78 days. Indeterminate; meaty.

Black Cherry. 65 days. Indeterminate; cherry.

Blondkopfchen. 75 days. Indeterminate; cherry, heirloom.

Box Car Willie. 80 days. Indeterminate; large, heirloom.

Burpee’s Big Girl. 78 days. Indeterminate; large red, hybrid.

Burgess Crack Proof. 80 days. Indeterminate; large scarlet fruit.

Celebrity. 72 days. Semi-determinate; medium-large.

Chianti Rose. Beefsteak, Italian heirloom.

Colonial. Midseason. Determinate; medium-large.

Debarao. 72 days. Medium, deep red, paste or salads, open-pollinated.

Delicious. 77 days. Indeterminate; large globe shape.

Eva Purple Ball. 78 days. Indeterminate; heirloom.

First Lady. 66 days. Indeterminate; slicing, hybrid.

Gardener’s Delight. 70 days. Indeterminate; small, round, red.

Glamour. 74 days. Indeterminate; medium-size, heavy clusters.

Gold Nugget. 70 days. Determinate; yellow cherry, open pollinated.

Golden Sweet. 60 days. Indeterminate; grape.

Grape Tomato. 60 days. Indeterminate, bright red.

Jackpot. 70 days. Determinate, meaty.

Japanese Black Trifele. 80 days. Indeterminate, meaty, dark fruit.

Jet Star. 70 days. Determinate abundant producer to 8 ounces, hybrid.

Juliet. 60 days. Indeterminate; red oblong grape, hybrid.

Market Champion. 80 days. Indeterminate, heirloom.

Morado. 85 days. Dark purple-pink.

Monte Verde. Midseason. Determinate; large, hybrid.

Mountain Fresh. 79 days. Determinate; large fruit.

• Mountain Gold. 80 days. Determinate; yellow heirloom.

Mountain Pride. 77 days. Determinate, large, hybrid.

Mountain Spring. 79 days. Determinate; large red.

Park’s Whopper Improved. 65 days. Indeterminate, big juicy.

Peron Sprayless. 68 days. Indeterminate; globe shape.

Piedmont. Mid to late season. Very large.

Pritchard. 90 days. Indeterminate, heirloom.

Prize of the Trials. Cherry tomato.

Pruden’s Purple Tomato. 65 days. Indeterminate; pink-purple heirloom.

Red Rose. 85 days. Indeterminate.

Red Sun. Determinate; medium red.

Rutgers. 75 days. Determinate; bright red globe-shaped.

Santa. 60 days. Indeterminate; cherry.

Spitfire. 75 days. Determinate; large, hybrid.

Summer Sweet. 58 days. Indeterminate; grape, hybrid.

Sun Gold. 57 days. Indeterminate; orange cherry, hybrid.

Sun Sugar. 60 days. Indeterminate; yellow cherry.

Sunpride. Midseason. Determinate; very large, matures green.

Super Fantastic. 70 days. Indeterminate; canning, hybrid.

Sweet 100. 65 days. Indeterminate; cherry to 1 inch in diameter.

Sweet Chelsea. 64 days. Indeterminate; large red.

Sweet Million. 65 days. Indeterminate; round cherry.

Sweet Olive. 57 days. Grape, hybrid.

Thessoaloniki. 77 days. Indeterminate; for slicing.

Traveler 76. 76 days. Indeterminate; Southern growing, open-pollinated.

Williamette. 70 days. Determinate; smooth, globe-shaped.

Yellow Pear. 78 days. Indeterminate. Sweet, continuous harvest.

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  1. Interesting article,. This year I inherited a couple of tomato plants from the snowbirds next door. No idea what they are. Maybe next year I’ll try to grow my own.
    Any suggestion for growing tomatoes, etc in phoenix Az?

    • To raise tomatoes and most other vegetables in regions with very hot summers, you may want to adjust your growing season so that your crops come to harvest before daytime temperatures are consistently greater than 95F. That may mean planting in late winter or very, very early spring. You can also choose determinant tomatoes which require a shorter growing season; Early Girl is one such tomato. Also check with your state agriculture extension service for tomatoes recommended for growing in your region.

    • The key to avoiding tomato skin cracking is even soil moisture. Avoid letting the soil go dry. Likewise, avoid heavy watering. When tomato roots go dry then wet then dry then wet, the skin is contracting and expanding weakening the skin. Cherry tomatoes need to grow quickly with even moisture. Be sure to havest every day when tomatoes start to ripen; pick the ripe tomatoes then come back tomorrow to pick again. You can measure even moisture at about 3 or 4 inches deep in the soil; the top couple of inches can dry between waterings but the soil at 4 inches deep should stay moist throughout the growing season.

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