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Crack-resistant varieties?

Posted by sunnibel7 Md 7 (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 8, 12 at 20:04

Starting to think about next year here. We did real well taking our cherry tomatoes into the restaurant, but the boss is wondering about getting a nice large tomato in there. The thing is, when you slice a tomato on a plate for customers, it has to be pretty, so varieties that are genetically prone to cracking are out. Good flavor is important (though subjective), and not being terribly juicy would be good. I did some preliminary searches and found one reccommendation for Japanese Black Trieffel, a tomato I've been interested in trying, but I like to have others to consider too. :) Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

There are three kinds of splitting.

Concentric where one sees as circles around the stem area which can open up but usually scar over but if there's xs rain they can reopen.

Radial cracking is seen as rays of splits that radiate out from the stem end and same as above in terms of scarring over and xs water opening them up again.

Both of the above havs a genetic tendency, but environmental factors also play a role.

Horizontal splitting is seen as splits anywhere's else on the fruits and is usually caused by too much water when the fruit is full sized and can't expand more to take up that water, thus the splits. And this kind has no genetic basis and can be seen with any variety, be it OP or F1.

I sold fruits to restaurants for several years and they wanted the OP heirloom kind and were quite pleased to get them regardless of any imperfections. Of fruits for sauce it makes no difference and the smaller cherry varieties seldom show splitting, with some exceptions. But for larger ones for making pretty slices on a plate, that's a different story/

Off hand I don't think I can name one variety that's tolerant to splitting b'c each season is different so a single variety can have splits in one season and not in another season.

I suppose if it were me I'd consider some of the F1 hybrids since so many of them are bred for shippability so that the cell walls seem to better withstand splitting. My opinion, but with most but not all F1's one usually is missing great taste.

Hope that helps.

Carolyn


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

Asking if there are varieties that are resistant to cracking and splitting assumes that cracking and splitting are variety related. They aren't. Cracking and splitting are primarily weather and gardener related issues.

If you are willing to sacrifice flavor for appearance then as Carolyn said, pick one of the 'thicker skinned for-commercial-market' hybrid varieties like Celebrity, Better Boy, Jet Star, etc.

But for larger ones for making pretty slices on a plate, that's a different story/

Cracked and/or split tomatoes can still yield a number of pretty slices for the plate.

Dave


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

Dave, I would agree with you if it weren't for the original poster saying that fruits with splits don't do well with large fruits sliced on a plate.

Fact is, when I was selling to restaurants what they wanted more than anything else were various colored cherry tomatoes for salads and garnishes. And then great tasting ones for making sauce.

Not so much larger ones although I confess that the person who was helping me, and I, cut off one chef since I could not bring him all the German Red Straberry fruits he wanted and he got nasty about it.

So we cut him off entirely and I felt great about doing that. LOL

Carolyn


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

There is a HUGE genetic component to splitting and cracking. Part of it is from having thin skin. Part is from a rainfall response pumping extra water into the fruit. Part of it is from the fruit structure, fasciated tomatoes are much more prone to radial splitting near the stem, round tomatoes are much less prone. Another part if from fruit load on the plant, heavier loads tend to be associated with less cracking though this is usually accompanied with variable fruit size.

There are several good heirloom varieties that have excellent cracking and splitting tolerance. Here are 3 that I would suggest that also take into consideration the OP's climate conditions.

Burgess Crackproof - Yes, it is pretty much what it says.
Eva Purple Ball - The shape and size keep this one from having problems.
Druzba = larger fruit than the other two, outstanding flavor, and because the plants tend to load very heavily with fruit, they are crack/split tolerant.

If you want to try a hybrid, I would suggest Ramapo as the best option.

DarJones


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

I actually had read some of Carolyn's old posts where she stated quite directly that cracking has a major genetic component and was related to variety, before I ever asked my question. I also understand about the role environmental factors play in tomato cracking, thougth perhaps that was not obvious. But you will note I was asking about crack-resistant varieties, not crack-free ones. :) For the sake of efficiency, let's assume I am a moderately accomplished gardener if I am providing produce to a restaurant.

I have cherry tomatoes that already do real well, so that base is covered. But a large tomato for presenting sliced is very different. Looks matter more than taste, though I tend to believe that an organic tomato picked the day it is served with no chilling is still going to be quite flavorful. Especially compared to what you get in most restaurants.

Tomatoes for paste is another whole subject, and those would be for my personal use. Though I find split tomatoes to be a trouble in processing if there are a lot of them. The fibrous areas around the split tend to gum up my food strainer, but require a lot of extra work or waste to remove.

Anyway, any and all information you provide is useful, so thank you. Cheers!

PS what is a a fasciated tomato shaped like?


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

There is a HUGE genetic component to splitting and cracking. Part of it is from having thin skin. Part is from a rainfall response pumping extra water into the fruit. Part of it is from the fruit structure, fasciated tomatoes are much more prone to radial splitting near the stem, round tomatoes are much less prone. Another part if from fruit load on the plant, heavier loads tend to be associated with less cracking though this is usually accompanied with variable fruit size.

Respectfully Darrel but thin skin, fruit structure and the fasciated shape are the genetic components, not the cracking/splitting. Otherwise it would be impossible to grow thin skin or fasciated varieties without splitting and cracking. And we both know it isn't...impossible.

Best that can be claimed is that there are varietal genetic components that may pre-dispose some fruit to cracking and splitting given less than ideal environmental conditions. Carolyn said above a "tendency" in the case of concentric and radial cracking only. I prefer the term pre-disposition.

But the pre-disposition, the actual cracking and splitting, can be environmentally controlled to a large degree even with such varieties.

I actually had read some of Carolyn's old posts where she stated quite directly that cracking has a major genetic component and was related to variety, before I ever asked my question.

I think she more than clarified that mis-understanding in her comments above but if not then likely she'll reply to this.

But you will note I was asking about crack-resistant varieties, not crack-free ones.

I understand that and as suggested above stick with the thicker skinned grown-for-shipping varieties for the most resistance. They are the most tolerant of all the environmental factors that cause cracking and splitting.

But more and better varieties are available and can be successfully grown - crack-free - when the growing conditions are improved/modified as needed with such things as hoop houses, drip irrigation, irrigation times, heavy mulching, fertigation, alternate forms of plant support, etc.

Dave


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

With all due respect Dave, I think you are getting hung up on what I (as one who has a degree in biology) call scientific belaboring of detail. :) A predisposition to cracking under certain environmental stresses, which is genetically predetermined, falls directly into my catgory of "prone to cracking". The very existance of those implies the existance of varieties that are not prone to such, i.e. "crack resistant". I know what I am doing re mulch, irrigation, etc, but would still like people's feedback. I'm afraid once words like "genetic predisposition" and "fasciated", start flying around, though, most people will be scared off the topic...

I hear what you said about the varieties you recommend, and thank you. If it helps, I am thinking, preliminarily, of trialing a few varieties to see which best meet the needs of the restaurant and the constraints of the grower. I expect do be doing that for years to come. Speaking of constraints, I have some currently which will ease as the years go by and I can increase my infrastructure. Which is my belabored way of saying that until I get more money and help, all the deep mulch and timed irrigation doesn't do a thing to prevent heavy rain from ruining (for public use) a large number of my tomatoes... I would need some physical barrier to rain for that. I want to see if it is possible to cut my losses and make the restaurant happy this coming season. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Cheers!


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

I had to laugh just a little. Folks, ease up. This is a tomato forum. Relax, have fun, and grow more tomatoes!

"Fasciated" is the gene that causes "beefsteak" tomatoes. It means the fruit that grows when multiple ovules fuse into a single fruit. The result is a huge tomato, often boat shaped, often with a huge core, can grow into a deformed monstrosity if not very well pollinated.

With that said, Sunnibel, you might expand your definition just a bit to ask for crack resistant tomatoes in colors other than red or pink. Here are just a few that I like.

Jaune Flammee - this one is a bit small, but the flavor is excellent and they are very early.

Bear Creek - This one is a beefsteak type, but relatively stable at producing medium/large slicers with very good flavor and few fruit blemishes.

Cherokee Green - I really prefer Green Giant for a green when ripe tomato, but for your requested size, shape, and blemish free fruit, this one is excellent.

DarJones


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

Dar, I'm glad you laughed. I'm sorry if it wasn't apparent that much of what I wrote was thought (by myself) in a gently amused manner, but it was and now I have stated it outright. :) That doesn't change that I am looking for what I am looking for and I have a good (to me) reason to look for it.

I never specified color as one of my factors, nor shape. Just cracking proneness, size to a certain extent, then flavor, and most inconsequential, juiciness. Your input is greatly valued. As is everyone's. Cheers!


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

Often times there is a trade-off when going to crack resistant varieties. One variety I used to grow, Husky Gold, produced a medium size golden yellow tomato on a fully dwarf plant. The fruits never cracked but the skin was tough as shoe leather.

This year I'm truly impressed with a newer, beautiful red fruited variety, Rebelski, from Johnny's seeds. It hardly ever cracks and yet looks and tastes very good. When it comes to cherry/grape tomatoes the grapes I've grown are far less prone to cracking. Even of the orange cherries SunSugar is less likely to crack than SunGold but it is identical in eating quality.

I tried a new small fruited variety this year, Turkisk Striped Monestary. I threw most of them away b/c of severe cracking. A similar sized tomato in a variety given to me as "Weaver's stuffing tomato" has had very little cracking problem.In larger fruited hybrids there exists huge differences. Pink Wonder is just a crackfest- stay away from it. Pink Girl and BrandyMaster are better alternatives.

I know that Carolyn had stated that Black from Tula is a likely cracker but most of mine grown in a greenhouse have very little cracking so management does play a significant role. However I'll admit the tomatoes I'm picking now in my greenhouses usually do have some cracking due to moisture buildup. I stopped watering by drip 2 weeks ago but many fruits are wet from condensation in mornings. If you have a market for good looking fruits then greenhouses are the answer. I've taken so many first place ribbons with my tomatoes at our county fair that I lost count. Twice in the last 4 years my red tomatoes were awarded "Best of Show" for the entire vegetable category. That is not just genetics but preventing dew from forming on the ripening fruits.

Lastly I'll mention nutrition. Calcium plays a role in cracking and if you have a deficiency you might experience more than normal. The jury is still out in my opinion of the merit of applying foliar calcium such as Nutri-Cal. If you want to try it next year you can judge for yourself. A County Extension researcher who specializes in tomatoes in our state is nuts about foliar sprays. I think he is a nut in general so I won't mention any names.


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

My first thought was Pecan? Walnut? Chestnut? or Acorn? or just a "mixed" nut? Then I realized you specified he is a "general" nut.

DarJones Now we can laugh!


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

In the first post I did in this thread I outlined three kinds of splitting and said there was a tendency for a genetic association with the first two, Radial and Concentric, and I do stand by that, and then said that horizontal splitting had no genetic association.

So it really does depend on the specific kind of splitting that one is talking about.

I'm looking at a copy of my book on heirloom tomatoes right now and see a picture of Black From Tula on the cover and partially covered by the book title but shown in it's entirety on it's own page you'll see that the stem end has a single concentric spiral that's open at one end. And I can flip to different pages and see the various kinds of splitting as well, including lots of horizoneal splitting since it was a very wet summer when pictures were taken.

Summary? Know thy kinds of splitting. LOL

Carolyn


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

Carolyn, thanks for returning to this conversation. Yes, that is probably the post I was thinking of. But I still feel like we're dancing around the subject... Which varieties are not prone to the genetically associated types of splitting? Further, are the genetically associated types of splitting caused by environmental stress? In other words, since I cannot entirely control the environment, I would like to control what I can, which is my choice of seed to grow. So I would like to avoid those cultivars which are prone to genetically associated cracking. Unless all cultivars are prone to genetically associated cracking, which has not ever been said.

Beyond that it would be interesting to know if genetic splitting is only seen under conditions of environmental stress, and whether it happens before the non-genetically induced type of cracking in those conditions. Do radial and concentic splitting occur before the fruit gets to the point of horizontal splitting? Ah, I had better stop. My mind asks incessant questions. Beyond the scope of this discussion.

Brian, thanks for your information too. My soil is mildly deficient in calcium. I did treat it with the recommended amount of lime, per my soil test results and had much less blossom end rot this year. Another soil test is in order, since I don't know if I need to keep adding lime every year, though I suspect I might given the soil type. As for the green house or hoop house to grow "perfect" tomatoes, I knew that was a solution. I'll show the boss (family joke, my husband and I call each other the boss) what you said, maybe he'll come around to the idea of one a little faster. Right now he has an unreasonable dislike of hoop houses. :) The greenhouse discussion has been going on for 3 years now. I wonder if shade cloth might help. In the field, not in getting me a greenhouse.

I know I keep saying this, but thank you everyone. I really feel like I am learning alot from everyone's diverse inputs. And I like learning almost as much as I like growing plants! Cheers!


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

Yes, the genetic predisposition for splitting can occur for both radial and concentric splitting at the stem end can and does occur independently from any environmental conditions, but those splits usually scar over and only reopen when there's too much rain or irrigation, and that's when the normal flora of bacteria and fungi in the air can infect and start a rotting processl

And yes, IMO horizontal splitting, which can occur anywhere on fruits, can occur with ANY variety if there's too much water to uptake and the tomato epidermis can no longer expand to accomodate that water, so the fruits split

Does that answer your major questions? ( Smile)

Carolyn


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

I probably should not interject this b/c I see no real distinction between "Cracking" and "Splitting" but Rich Snyder, Miss., in The Greenhouse Tomato Handbook states "Splitting is not the same as cracking". He attributes splitting to exposure to very high temperatures or when night temps are low followed by a sunny day.

I was trying to lookup the other nutrient associated with cracking and it turns out to be copper, a trace element. Just for what its worth but when messing with trace elements use caution not to overdo the dosage.


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

Carolyn, almost. ;) the final phase of the question would be "are there varieties that are not genetically prone to either radial or concentric cracking?" and thank you for your patience.

Brian, that is interesting. I think I will leave the copper alone, it wasn't part of my soil test results and well, I seem to remember too much copper is not a good thing.

Cheers!


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

to know if genetic splitting is only seen under conditions of environmental stress, and whether it happens before the non-genetically induced type of cracking in those conditions.

Yes, exactly.

Yes, I know I get preachy about this but I get so discouraged by everyone always laying off what they consider short-comings or imperfections on the variety and its genetics when it is actually environmental and growing conditions. Both of which can be greatly controlled.

Umpteen questions get posted here critical of "the variety" - its taste, its color, its poor pollination, its blossom drop, its % of BER, its splitting, its leaf development, etc. etc. etc. - when in fact the primary contributing factor are environmental and the growing conditions the gardener provides.

It's a cop-out but rather than acknowledge that other gardeners can grow the same variety with no problems at all, most gardeners prefer to just write off a variety, to lay any flaws off on the variety, than examine and fix their growing conditions.

Dave


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

Re-greetings, Dave! Well, that's one way of looking at it. But maybe it would be less discouraging to consider that some might realize the limitations of their situation and abilities and wish to grow the best they can within that scope. Then rather than a cop out it is wanting to use thoughtful consideration in choosing. And of course, I do not frequent this particular forum, so I am not very aware of the phenomena of which you speak.

I personally favor taste first, then suitability to my area, then productivity when choosing things to grow for my own use. Generally speaking, blemishes don't even hit my radar, which is why I know so little about the causes of some of them. But I know enough about the people who will eat at our restaurant to know that they won't eat tomatoes with healed over cracks, and I can't in good food safety conscience send them tomatoes with open splits. So if I can stack the deck in my favor, genetically speaking, then I am reasonably assured of my abilities to avoid splitting in my tomatoes most of the time, and so I will come out ahead. That's my fond hope!


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RE: Crack-resistant varieties?

You might give "Mountain Spring" a try. Medium-large, and about the most crack-resistant, blemish-free variety I have ever grown. Taste is quite good (but not extraordinary) when fully ripe (IMO).

BTW, my experience is that tomatoes grown in a mostly covered container (such as an EarthBox) and which have a more-or-less constant moisture profile have much less cracking than those subject to alternating wet/dry cycles. Might be worth an experiment for you. (?) Even growing tomatoes using plastic "mulch" seems to help with cracking as well as controlling weeds and lessening foliage diseases. And putting a "soaker" hose under the plastic sure makes watering a lot easier when dry conditions prevail.
-wc2k8


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