Tomato problems are the some of the most common gardening questions I get in the summer. Many people want to know how to get the juiciest, reddest tomatoes possible from their garden. However, getting them isn’t always the easiest thing.

Gardeners are either battling with squirrels, insects or some type of disease. Here are three of the most common problems and how to fix them so you can harvest those ripe, juicy tomatoes for yourself.

Problem #1: The tops of the tomatoes have brown split marks.

This is common with a lot of wet weather. The split marks are completely harmless and are caused by uneven watering. This is hard to control when there has been a lot of rainfall. You can still eat these tomatoes; just cut off the tops with the brown splits.

Problem #2: The bottom of my tomato turned black.

This is not a disease like many people think, but a lack of calcium. This can also be caused by too much or too little water. My recommendation is to add a small amount of lime to the soil and water it in. The tomato can take up the calcium from the lime and the new tomatoes should be healthy. Also, try to keep the tomato evenly watered so there are no periods of extreme wetness and dryness.

Problem #3: I have a big white patch on my tomato.

This is usually caused by sunscald, which, just like it sounds, happens when a section of a fruit or vegetable gets scalded by the sun. If your tomatoes are getting burned in the afternoon sun, try to give them shade in the late sun and don’t trim off any more leaves that don’t have flowers.

bowl of tomatoes
Photo by Roychan Kruawan on Unsplash.

Some other tips to help you get the tastiest tomatoes:

  • Rotate your crops every two years. Planting tomatoes in the same spot every year increases their chance of developing disease. Plant them in a different part of the garden every other year.
  • To keep the squirrels at bay, bring your tomatoes inside once they get a tinge of orange. Keep them in a sunny window and the tomatoes will ripen up inside the house where the squirrels can’t get their paws on them.
  • Keep your plants watered and mulched. Inspect them for any insect damage and fertilize every 4 to 6 weeks.

For more info on raising healthy, delicious tomatoes and tips on other fruits and veggies, visit the UGA Extension of DeKalb County.

Lead photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Sarah E. Brodd is a Natural Resource Agent for UGA Extension in DeKalb County.