Bruised, rotten tomatoes
Between Friday morning and Tuesday evening, a period of 4.5 days, ripening tomatoes on my plant became horribly bruised and rotten. This year, I was picking the tomatoes before they ripened thoroughly. On Friday, the tomatoes were just beginning to ripen. Also on Wednesday, I tied up several stalks that had fallen due to tropical storm, Isais. What happened to the tomatoes? I had to throw very many away, and they weren’t even ripe. Might this be damage from the storm? The first photo is from Tuesday, and the second is from Friday. In advance, thank you for your reply.
Anne Arundel County Maryland
Hi- picking fruits when they first begin to turn color is a good strategy for reducing the many problems that ripening fruits face when they remain on the vine. Unfortunately, weather events, climate change, and other environmental stressors can wreak havoc, even in well-managed crops.
Multiple factors led to the situation depicted in the photos. We had extreme and prolonged heat (elevated day and evening temps) in July that negatively affected fruit quality (sunscald, uneven ripening, softening, cracking). High winds, pelting rain, and physical rubbing of stems, supports, and fruits also injured fruits and accelerated two key fruit diseases- anthracnose and bacterial soft rot.
There was nothing you could really do, other than redouble efforts to pick fruit earlier and keep plants well-supported. Hopefully, you will have lots more fruit to harvest this season.