Catfacing refers to the deep, puckered ridges, filled with coarse brown skin, that can occur on your tomatoes, usually on the bottom. Cracking is something altogether different.
Catfacing is a physiological problem believed to occur when the weather is cool and cloudy when blossoms emerge. Other blossom damage may also cause catfacing. There isn’t anything you can do about it, but it might help you feel better to understand why it happens. Some varieties are more prone to catfacing than others. Catfacing does not change the flavor of your delicious tomatoes, but it does take away from the appearance.
Cracking occurs when a tomato’s inside grows faster than its outside. This happens for a variety of reasons:
Irregular watering can also cause blossom end rot, so proper irrigation is always a good idea when growing tomatoes.
There are two types of cracking common to tomatoes: concentric and radiating.
Concentric cracks look like circles, starting at the stem end. These cracks heal quickly, protecting against insects and diseases with scar tissue. These tomatoes are still perfectly edible. Concentric cracks are common on fruit left on the vine after it has ripened completely. Harvesting regularly can prevent concentric cracks.
Radiating cracks usually start at the stem end and reach toward the blossom end. These occur just as the fruit is turning color. They do not heal well and tend to create easy access to pests and diseases. If harvested right away, they are still edible.
Harvest to Table offers an extensive list of tomato varieties resistant to cracking and catfacing. Your best bet is to be very conscientious about watering your tomatoes regularly, especially in the peak of summer heat.
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