Tomatoes are one of the most popular vegetables grown by gardeners. They can be grown indoors and outside and there are many different varieties giving a wide choice of taste and color. Although tomatoes are a relatively easy crop to grow there are a number of problems that can arise which can turn into a disaster if not treated correctly. This list of seven potential disasters which I found in an article on the Gardening Channel website shows what can happen and how to deal with it.

One of the most satisfying feelings of home gardening is to harvest a bumper crop of beautiful tomatoes at the end of the season. Tomatoes are one of the most popular plants grown by home gardeners because they are relatively easy to grow and they produce a fruit that has many delicious uses!
To get tomatoes that look like those above at the end of the season, you have to avoid some common problems with growing tomatoes. We?re calling these the 7 deadly sins because they are what are known as ?cultural? problems with tomatoes. That means you, the gardener, are letting them happen.
Following are the 7 sins and how you can easily avoid them this season.
blossom end rot tomatoes

Sin #1 ? Blossom-end Rot

Blossom-end rot is a dark patch on the blossom-end of the fruit that turns black and leathery over time. The cause is a calcium deficiency in the tomato. Tomatoes become calcium deficient when the weather is too cold or too hot and the water supply is inconsistent. Heavy application of nitrogen fertilizer can also play a role.
How to Avoid It
To avoid blossom-end rot, plant your tomatoes at the appropriate time, not too early in the season. Water and fertilize them evenly and consider using mulch, which will hold water and even out the water supply to the plant. Also, don?t cultivate within one foot of the plant base to avoid root injury.

Sin #2 ? Phosphorous Deficiency

There is plenty of phosphorous in the soil, but it isn?t available to the tomato plant at cool temperatures, and the lack of phosphorous can kill the plant.
How to Avoid It
Don?t plant your tomatoes too early. What that means exactly will depend on your climate, but the soil needs to be warm when you plant your tomatoes. You can also use mulch to warm the soil around your plants.

Sin #3 ? Catfacing

Catfacing refers to holes and scars in the blossom end of the fruit that basically make for an ugly tomato that is often unusable. Larger tomato varieties are more susceptible than smaller ones. The cause isn?t entirely known, but it is thought to be some disturbance of the flowers or flower buds during their development. Cold weather during blossoming, high nitrogen levels and contact with certain herbicides might be to blame.
How to Avoid It
Don?t plant your tomatoes too early in the season and expose them to cold weather. (Are you noticing a theme here?) Also, certain varieties of tomato are more prone to catfacing than others and if you have this problem you should choose another variety that is less susceptible.

Sin #4 ? Growth Cracks

cracked tomatoes
This is just what it sounds like, cracks that run from the stem end and can encircle the whole fruit. The cracks are often invaded by bacteria and fungi once they appear, which ruins the fruit. Growth cracks are the result of very rapid growth of the fruit brought on by environmental conditions like when water becomes abundant after a drought.
How to Avoid It
Again, even and consistent watering practices will help with growth cracks. Mulch will also keep moisture more consistent. Some varieties of tomato are more prone to growth cracks so choosing the right variety also helps.

See more at the Gardening Channel

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