Cracking and Pouching Resistant Tomatoes?

budge_growMay 12, 2009

I have in the past grown tomatoes that cracked or had deep crevices and lumps all around (what I call "pouching" but please correct me with a better term). I know irregular watering or too much water can cause cracking, something I may or may not be able to control, depending on the weather, but I'm just wondering if there is such a thing as tomato varieties that resist cracking. As for "pouching" (please correct me again), how do you peel a tomato that has the peel buried in deep crevices, or even get decent slices from a lumpy tomato that's composed of poorly attached bulges and bumps? Again I'm wondering if there are tomato varieties that are more spherically or evenly shaped. I like heirloom taste, but I know some varieties ripen like a half-closed accordion. If the better shaped ones are all hybrids, so be it.

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"I'm just wondering if there is such a thing as tomato varieties that resist cracking."

Burgess Crack Proof: Breeder and vendor: Burgess Seed & Plant Co., Galesburg, Michigan. Parentage: unknown; sample received from an Ohio fancier about 1940; unlike any other cultivar. Characteristics: practical immunity of fruit to radial cracks. Resistance: growth cracks. (NCSU Cultivar Lists)

It's hard to find fresh seeds for Burgess Crackproof. You can obtain it from Seed Saver's Exchange via their Yearbook if you're a member. It's SSE Tomato #507.

Glamour: Breeder: Birds-Eye Hort. Res. Lab., Albion, New York. Vendor: Joseph Harris Co., Rochester, New York. Parentage: Burgess Crackproof x Sioux. Characteristics: smooth, attractive fruit; heavy first cluster set. Resistance: cracking. Adaptation: northeastern and midwestern United States. Harris Catalog. 1957. (NCSU Cultivar Lists)

Glamour is available easily from Stokes Seeds and Victory Seeds. It's open pollinated, so you can save and replant the seeds.

Traveler 76 is an open pollinated, heat-setting variety bred for Arkansas and southern climates and is crack resistant. You can get seeds from Victory also.

There are many modern hybrid tomatoes that are bred specifically to resist cracking and splitting. Usually, those crack-resistant characteristics are included in the seed catalog description of the varieties.

But with the right soil and weather conditions, or poor culture habits, you could probably get any tomato to crack.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 4:41PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Budge, what you seem to describe as pouching sounds like catfacing to me which occurs with some large beefsteak varieties when pollenization occurs at low temps/

And most of the time it doesn't happen.

As for cracking, there are several different kinds of cracking/splitting, some associated with certain varieties and one type of splitting can occur with ANY variety, OP or hybrid, b'c it relates to uptake of water after downpours or too much irrigation and when the fruits are at their maximum size and can't expand with the water influx, they split.

I think it would be helpful if you could list the OP varieties you've grown and what problems you had with them.

There are quite a few hybrids that I like but you say you prefer the heirlooms, as do I, so shall we deal with that first?


    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 5:00PM
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mojavebob(9/Sunset 11)

Hi Carolyn, or anyone who wants to chime in.

I guess Budge didn't follow through with this. Cracking, deep radial cracking, is my biggest issue in the desert. My cherries (4 types) do not have the issue. In the case of Super Sweet 100s, which supposedly have a cracking problem, there's been no cracking. Better Boys planted right next to them are cracking, big huge cracks. Celebrities are cracking just as bad. Cracking, but not as bad, would be Champion, Ace, and Goliath hybrids; Arkansas Traveler, Eva Purple Ball, Wonder Light, and Red Beefsteak heirlooms. And that is pretty much everything I'm harvesting other than the cherries.

My plants are heavily mulched with a couple inches of compost covered by straw with grass clippings added every time I mow or collect from the gardener's truck. I try to water consistently but I didn't have time to install a drip system before planting. I hoped to install it after but didn't. I water carefully mindful that overwatering cracks fruit. I've had a few forgetful moments with the hose, but very few. I have extreme dry heat. Literally, I have been hotter than Death Valley this summer and there hasn't been a single drop of rain on any of my plants since day one. Can you imagine that? :)

I know I can be better with the watering, will get the drip system in for next year and will apply less nitrogen in the future, but I suspect my conditions demand "crack resistant" varieties. Hybrid or Heirloom is fine. Suggestions appreciated. I will not grow Better Boy or Celebrity out here again.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 10:13PM
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