[gardeners] splitting tomatos

Allen and Judy Merten (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Thu, 01 Oct 1998 01:49:27 -0500

Hi Penny,
    I never saw a reply to your question about your tomatos splitting.
Usually it is related to water stress plus heat. You might be watering
too much. Check your soil moisture about 4-6 inches deep. If it is moist
do not water until it dries out a little. When the moist soil is only
about 3 inches deep water again.
    I place a 3lb coffee can with the top and bottom cut out around my
tomatos when I transplant. It helps with cut worms and protects against
the wind. I leave the can around the plant all season. It makes a great
way to water the plant. Just fill the can up to the top. The water will
soak into the soil right at the plant, no run off no waste. I also put a
tablespoon of fertilizer in the can about two weeks apart through the
growing season. I got this method from my Dad. I had always removed the
cans when the plant grew past the top of it. Another way that this helps
in the spring, if I am  going to get a late frost, I mulch up the
outside of the can to the top and put mulch down inside the can to cover
the plant. I use light weight materials for this like pine needles, hay,
or dried leaves. I have used shredded newspaper inside the can if I
don't have any light weight materials.
    I push the growing season a little early so that my garden will
reach maturity before the heat gets bad. This past spring, my youngest
son and I had to mulch several hundred potato plants, 100 tomato plants,
and 2 dozen pepper plants in one day when we got a frost warning from
the weather service. It took a lot of pine needles, but we didn't lose a
single plant.
    Bastrop Co.,Tx
    Zone 8