What causes hard to chew tomato skin?

yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)March 7, 2011

I have tried a Moreton, Ramapo and a Marglobe and all have a hard to chew skin. Not thick, but hard to chew. Kind of like a piece of plastic.

Did I do something wrong or is this how their skin is?

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homegardenpa

The only time I've ever encountered skin like that was when the fruit endured very dry weather and very high temperatures and got very little water. It could be a coincidence, but that was my experience.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 12:06PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree with the above. While some varieties naturally have thicker skins, the majority of the problem results from high heat and inconsistent moisture levels in the soil. Sun scald can also cause it although the skin discoloration it causes is obvious.

It ties right in with your mealy tomatoes in your other post.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 2:02PM
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lisetn

I'm in Middle Tennessee and our tomato skin is always too tough to chew. We have to peal all our tomatoes, except cherries. I have no idea why. It's a pain to peal them before slicing but homegrown tomatoes around here have always been that way. They are still delicious!!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 2:06PM
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roper2008 (7b)(7b)

In my garden the cherry tomatoes seem to have the tougher
skin.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 3:54PM
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catman529(6b)

lisetn, I am in middle Tennessee as well, haven't had trouble with tomato skins here, sometimes BER but I can't remember tough skins except maybe on a few cherries.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 5:44PM
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lisetn

Catman, I'm surprised to hear that because it's not just my tomatoes, it's my Moms and other folks. I suppose we are doing something wrong. Anyway they are not hard to peel if you don't refrigerate them.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 8:03PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I agree with Catman - there is nothing about geographical location that would cause, much less guarantee, tough skin tomatoes. Exception might be if everyone you know happens to be growing the same hybrid "bred for shipping" variety of tomato. They are genetically bred to have thick skins.

You all might want to explore alternative varieties and alternative methods of growing.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 10:57PM
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yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)

We had an unusually cool winter this year and I watered these plants plenty - once a day until it got hot, now twice a day. So much so I was afraid that I washed out all the nutrients, so I kept fertilizing them.

So heat and lack of water can't explain the tough skin on my tomatoes.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 12:54AM
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homegardenpa

"... once a day until it got hot, now twice a day...

So heat and lack of water can't explain the tough skin on my tomatoes."

If conditions ever got to a point where watering was needed twice a day, or even once a day, then the plants were drying out too fast - and that _would_ imply a water issue of sorts.

The issue isn't necessarily a matter of not receiving water, but rather, irregularity in the water levels in the soil. If today it gets drenched and tomorrow, it's dry, then that is less than ideal.

Based on your comment, I'm assuming you're growing in containers. I can't imagine any in-ground soil type (that isn't possibly pure sand) that would require daily watering.

Two questions:
1.) What do you define as hot - it may differ from hot in PA since you are in FL?
2.) Are you growing in containers? If so, what size are they?

When I experienced tough skin on cherry tomatoes. They were grown in containers, in weather so hot that the they were drying out daily and needed to be watered every day. The same tomato, grown in containers in previous years where the weather was much milder and watering was needed every 2-3 days, did not have the problem.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 5:35PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

So heat and lack of water can't explain the tough skin on my tomatoes.

Yes, it can. As homegardenpa said the issue isn't a matter of not receiving water. The issue is was the water level in the soil maintained at a consistent level throughout the day? It is the consistency of the soil moisture that is important, not how many times you may have watered each day.

And in containers, especially smaller ones as you have mentioned you are using in other posts, it simply can't be maintained at a consistent level. Regardless of the air temps, the larger the container the slower the moisture level fluctuates. The smaller the container the quicker it dries out. Especially when temps top 90 degrees.

Sure you can water everyday at 9 am and make the soil really wet, probably too wet. But that moisture evaporates throughout the day. Especially if the plants aren't heavily mulched.

So the soil moisture level isn't the same at 1pm as it was when you watered at 9am. It is even less at 6 pm etc. Yet all that day the tissue and skin of the fruit was still developing while it had less and less moisture to draw on.

While large self watering containers, monitored carefully to keep water in them can work, the only proven way to maintain consistent soil moisture levels in containers is with large containers, heavy mulching, and a drip irrigation system set on a very slow drip feed on an auto timer.

Otherwise all you can do is take a moisture meter out hourly and check the soil and adjust the moisture level accordingly and that simply isn't practical.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 6:36PM
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k2marsh

I peal my tomatoes.

They are all GOOD SHIPPERS. Just like the apple skin. They were made to SHIP (Not Eat).

If you can find an old variety you may get a tomato with a tender skin.

Karyl

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 9:20PM
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yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)

Update - subsequent tomatoes are not mealy but still have the tough to chew skin. If both mealiness and tough to chew skin are due to inconsistent moisture levels, why do I now have tomatoes with a nice texture but still have the tough to chew skin?

I also have bugs in the soil now. I posted about it today. Maybe these bugs have something to do with it?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 11:35AM
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taz6122(N.W. AR.6b)

Bad teeth make tomato skin too tough to chew! lol

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 6:21AM
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