Growing FoodGrowing

Holes In My Cherry Tomatoes

Category Growing Food
Q: When they turn red, something is getting to eat them before me. Now I know some smart gardener out there can help me by telling me what to do so I can enjoy at least one tomato.


A: Laurie,

There are several possible culprits to the holes in your ripe cherry tomatoes-namely birds or worms. Because you mentioned the holes appear as soon as your tomatoes turn red, you might be sustaining damage from birds. Small, deep holes, 1/4 to 1/2 inches in diameter (with rough, serrated edges) are probably the best indicators you have birds feasting on your ripened tomatoes. One way to prevent this is to slip old pantyhose around the tomato clusters until you harvest them. The birds will not be able to peck through the nylon. You might also consider picking your tomatoes at first blush instead of waiting until they ripen. Just set them in a bowl at room temperature and they'll ripen in a few days to a week. Picking them at this stage will also increase your yields.


Tomato fruit worms, Hornworms and the tiny Tomato pinworms (most common in California) also chew deep holes in the fruits, but if this were the case, you would see visible evidence of the worm's presence and be able to remove them by hand picking.

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By sara (Guest Post)
July 25, 20050 found this helpful

Hi - I don't know what is eating and putting holes in your little tomatoes - darn. You could try removing the tomatoes just when they are about to turn red.


They will ripen quite well and still have that wonderful homegrown flavor. Hope this helps.

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July 25, 20050 found this helpful

First of all, your container should have drainage holes. If it doesn't, part of the problem may be that you are over watering them. You shouldn't need to water them everyday. Every two or three days should be sufficient. It's also possible that either birds or bugs are eating your tomatoes. I am also growing tomatoes in containers, and have had trouble with bugs and birds. For the bugs, you might want to use an insecticide. A really great and cheap organic insecticide is called BT. You should be able to find it at gardening stores, or Lowes or Home Depot. You want to look for something that contains BT or Bacillis Thuriengis. It's a biological, naturally occuring insecticide/pesticide that is wonderful for treating tomato problems. You should reapply it about every 7 days, or after it rains.


It is so safe that you can use it right up to the time of harvest. If you are getting brown spots near the stem, or having spotty leaves, (if the spots on the leaves are especially large,) you are probably over watering them. In containers, over watering can cause mold to grow. Typically, container grown tomatoes usually need more water, but I have discovered that if you use a good quality potting soil, the dirt is of a much better quality than the stuff in the ground, so you will probably get infinitely better drainage, and therefore need to water less often. If you have tiny spots on the leaves, and they appear on both sides of the leaves, you are probably dealing with something like an aphid infestation. If that's the case, the BT should work quite well. Hope this information is helpful. You might want to check this website out:

http://aggiehor  olver/index.html

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July 25, 20050 found this helpful

I had the same problem, put a circular type tomato cage in the pot. Then this is the amazing part. I bought about 2 yards of fine netting and sewed the sides together to form what looked like a pillow case. I zig zaged a piece of heavy yarn at the bottom to make a drawstring. I then put the netting over plant and tightened the cord at the bottom. No more bug bites. Simply untie and reach inside for tomatoes, it works.

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By (Guest Post)
July 26, 20050 found this helpful

Could be birds, they peck at our tomatoes. We also have groundhogs steal them, just at the peak of ripeness! The netting sounds like a good idea. If you don't want to net each plant, build a small & simple "tomato house/cage" with wood & staple the netting to that, place all the plants inside the "house".


Sometimes the birds can still get at individual plants wrapped in netting.

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Home and Garden Gardening Growing Growing FoodAugust 6, 2005
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