While slicing open recently harvested paste tomatoes for dinner last night, I found black mold growing inside the next-to-last tomato that I was going to use. I was surprised because there was no sign of a problem on the outside of the tomato. The next tomato had it too. I frantically searched through the tomatoes I had already cut up, but they seemed OK. Hopefully, the tomatoes that were already cooking were good.
An internet search turned up the most likely culprit: anthracnose. More information about this disease is available from the Missouri Botanical Garden, Cornell University, the Ohio State University, and the University of Minnesota. Anthracnose can also infect other vegetables including peppers, eggplant, beans, squash, and cucumbers.
Anthracnose isn’t considered to be very serious. It can be prevented through crop rotation (which I already practice), maintaining good drainage (not a problem with raised beds), and by leaving space between plants so that they can dry out (OK, that’s a problem with my tomato jungle). It’s also important to remove old tomato vines and diseased fruit and to not use overhead watering as that spreads the disease.
You might be tempted to spray fungicide on diseased plants, but once a fungus shows up on a plant, it’s probably too late. Fungicides can prevent the spread of fungus, but they usually can’t get rid of the fungus once it’s infected a plant.
health kick paste tomatoes