Beetroot, Carrots, Tomatoes and Cabbages are among some of the vegetable plants that can suddenly split. You’ll see some examples below.
The main reason for this splitting is inconsistent moisture levels in the soil, and the best way to prevent it from happening is to try and water consistently, being careful not to let the soil dry out during hot spells. This way, when heavy rains come, there won’t be such a big fluctuation between wet and dry soil, and the plants will not try to guzzle up water to make up for the drought.
Splitting happens most commonly once the cabbage has more or less reached full maturity, and usually begins after a heavy rainfall following a dry spell. The cabbage essentially draws up too much moisture and grows too fast, causing the splitting. You may find the same thing occurs if you over-feed your cabbages late in the season, with a liquid feed, for example.
Root Veg - beetroot, carrot, parsnip
This root splitting is seen when a hot, dry spell (i.e. the one that we have had recently) is interrupted by a heavy downpour. The carrots have been used to the relatively dry conditions, working hard to take up water and the roots are growing slowly. With the sudden availability of water, the carrots take up a big amount of water and have a growth spurt that they are not ready for. The result is the crack/split that appears. The same may happen with parsnips, beetroot and other root veg, but we find carrots are the most affected.
Again, moving from dry to waterlogged soil will cause the tomato skins to split when the fruits start to ripen, so try to keep the soil consistently moist and this should right itself as the next fruits come through. Harvest your tomatoes as soon as they are ripe – if left on the plant they will over-ripen, and at this point splitting is much more likely. If your tomatoes are split, they are great for cooking down into pasta sauces etc, so don’t throw them out!