Tomato stem end showing black instead of white.

Asked October 10, 2016, 1:43 PM EDT

Context: I have been growing Juliet tomatoes for several years in my above ground planter. The planter is 3 feet x 8 feet x 2 feet deep. I have excellent growth of the plant, and a bounty of tomatoes. Issue: This year, I have noticed that many of the tomatoes show a black connection at the stem end rather than what I expect which is white. I don't find any internal differences in the tomatoes. I also seem to have more falling fruit this year than normal. That indicates to me that there might be a soil or nutrient problem. I am getting ready to winterize- pull the plant and fallow the soil. Should I be adding anything this fall, or next spring before planting the next Juliet tomato? Or is the black something else?

Washington County Oregon tomato problem tomatoes

1 Response

Thank you for your question about your tomatoes. As long as the plant is healthy, the fruits tasty and intact, it’s likely the dark color at the stem end is insignificant. Unfortunately, the attached images don’t reveal any obvious defect.

I wonder if the darkened stem scar might be normal. For example, I currently have some tomatoes on the counter, most with intact stems and one where the stem came off when it was harvested. The stem scar on the latter is slightly darker than the others with a freshly removed stem.

The fruit can be examined at the Washington County Extension Service office, weekdays. I will be there tomorrow morning: Oct. 14, 9 to noon and, again, Monday, Oct. 17, 9 to noon. When I’m unavailable, other Master Gardeners can help you. The address is 1815 NW 169th Place, Suite 1000, Beaverton, OR 97006. The hours are weekdays, 9 to noon and 1 to 4.