I learned a new garden term this year: “cat-facing” tomatoes.
Before this, I considered deformed tomatoes as just that: a bit wonky on the end with rough scarred places. I did not give any thought to why this happens or how it affects the quality of the fruit. But once I become interested in a concept, I have to delve into exactly what it means.
In this article, I refer to the blossom end of a tomato. For those who are unfamiliar with the growing habits of tomatoes, the “blossom end” of a tomato is the bottom: the opposite of the stem, where tomatoes have a small mark on the bottom indicating where the bloom originated.
First, a description of cat-facing
Cat-facing is when the blossom end of the tomato is deformed in a particular way. This malformation is distinctly different from blossom-end rot. Blossom-end rot is when the bottom end of a tomato becomes indented, dark, and rotten, caused by a calcium deficiency.
Cat-facing has not been researched quite as much as other tomato deficiencies, although most experts agree the problem appears to be caused by incomplete pollination. When a tomato is not thoroughly pollinated, the fruit will not develop completely.
Cat-facing has not been researched quite as much as other tomato deficiencies, although most experts agree the problem appears to be caused by incomplete pollination.
The bottom of a cat-facing tomato has a bunch of divots and scarred areas. The risk of a cat-facing tomato is the malformed area offers an entry point for pests and bacteria into the tomato.
Pollination issues tend to happen early in the growing season. Gardeners who are anxious to get their crops into the ground may risk planting when temperatures are cooler than optimal. This leaves tomatoes vulnerable to cat-facing if the plant begins to bloom before overnight temperatures are 60 degrees or higher.