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Tumbler tomato fruit splits at the blossom end, a new tomato grows out of the opening

by Marlene
(Dubois, Wyoming)

Q. I have a red Tumbler Tomato in a pot by itself. It is located in a small plant shed with a plastic cover. Temperature change during the day is wide - these are the mountains of Wyoming. Some days the temperature fluctuates as much as 50 degrees. I water the plant several times a week. I am not sure about the soil as I used several types this year - from Scott's potting soil to regular top soil - and I can't remember what I used for which plant.

The plant has red mottling on the leaves, many of which I have removed. Some of the fruit is normal. Others look like an alien being born. The fruit first develops normally and then develops a small white nipple on the blossom end. As the fruit ripens, the blossom end splits and an other tomato develops from the inside, and then matures.

Tomato Dirt responds ...
A. Well, a tomato inside a tomato ... that's a first for us! Tumbler Tomato is a hybrid, so there is a chance you have a wayward (mutated) seed, especially if you planted more than one seedling in that hanging container.

Many people have cut open a tomato to find seeds inside already sprouting, but to have multiple tomatoes reproducing themselves one inside the other is truly unusual. If you can, post a photo here or on our Facebook page!

Cracking in your Tumbler Tomato fruit
As for cracking ... it's not unusual when you have significant temperature fluctuations. Tomato cracks are most common with uneven watering, but your wide temperature fluctuations add a special level of stress to tomatoes.

Red mottling on tomato leaves
Red spider mites are a likely culprit. The mites lay their eggs on and feed on the underside of the leaves, leaving a reddish mottled look. You might even see webbing on the plants. Tomatoes grown inside, in greenhouses, and under cover are more susceptible to red spider mite infestations. Unfortunately, there is no chemical treatment. However, you can reduce infestations with regular applications of horticultural oils like Neem oil.

Good luck and happy gardening!
Your friends at Tomato Dirt

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