Growth Cracks

Growth Cracks

Growth cracks are a problem most gardeners will have to contend with sooner or later.  Fortunately, the problem is structural in nature, and therefore will not cause an epidemic.

Commonly affected plants include:

Jalapeño peppers frequently crack, as well, but this is normal and not likely to cause a storage problem.

Growth cracks appear when the skin of the fruit in question cannot expand fast enough to keep pace with a rapid increase in pressure inside the fruit.  This can be caused by a number of conditions:

  • Irregular or excessive rainfall.
  • Irregular temperatures.
  • Excess nitrogen.


  • Concentric circles around stem end of fruit.
  • Starlike cracks spreading from stem end of fruit.


Growth Cracks

Growth cracks will usually correct themselves given time and the proper growing conditions.


A good starting point is to look for fruit and vegetable varieties that are resistant to cracking.

Your next best bet is to promote even growth:

  • Choose a garden site with good soil drainage.
  • Water deeply but regularly.
  • Mulch to keep the soil moisture steady.
  • Use compost, not chemical fertilizer, to keep nitrogen levels even.

Of course, we can’t control the weather.  If a heavy rain is in the forecast, take a walk through the garden and harvest any vegetables that might suffer from the effects.  If the fruits are almost ready, you can pick them a little early and ripen them on a sunny windowsill.

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Garden & Orchard Diseases

Garden & Orchard Diseases

By hsotr

Pulling from nearly 20 years of experience, Michelle Lindsey started Homestead on the Range to help Kansans and others around flyover country achieve an abundant country lifestyle. Michelle is the author of four country living books. She is also a serious student of history, specializing in Kansas, agriculture, and the American West. When not gardening or pursuing hobbies ranging from music to cooking to birdwatching, she can usually be found researching or writing about her many interests.