I have about 30 tomato plants of several varieties, all hybrid except for one heirloom. Every single tomato plant is having the same issue but my peppers, eggplant, green beans, and cucumbers are fine even though they are planted in the same area.

The plants looking healthy and beautiful and are producing a ton of healthy looking fruit that seemed to ripen just fine until I cut one open and the smell was awful. Inside the liquid/goo you find in a normal tomato that is normally clear, is brown. It's in every fruit I've cut open and doesn't matter if it's green or fully ripe.

Some of the fruit I let sit inside and ripen on the counter developed black rot spots that are soft and squishy and began growing mold.

A neighborhood farmer told me to try adding epsom salt to the soil because it could be a magnesium deficiency but he wasn't sure what it was. I haven't added anything to the soil except for lime back in December. This is also the first year I am growing in this soil, I put down wood chips last year and covered it with a tarp to kill back the grass and allow some of the chips to break down. When I had the soil tested everything was fine as far as PH and NPK (part of why I didn't add anything).

Could this be a type of mold or fungus? If this can't be identified here should I send a sample to a lab for testing?

I just added epsom salt and some fertilizer and a bit of calcium nitrate. If it is a deficiency that is causing the issue the fruit that is currently on the plant can't be corrected, right? I just want to know before I go pulling all the fruit off and tossing it.

Thank you in advance for any help you guys can provide!

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  • Brad some of these photos of your tomatoes look like normal tomatoes. These tomatoes smell? That is not normal unless you don't like the smell of tomato. The sunken lesions happening after you allow these fruits to ripen are not normal. I've never 'smelled' a rotten tomato! Weird. Could you please send that test report from your soil? That would tell us an awful lot more. You sound very, knowledgeable about plants. Great question. Great pictures. I'd like to see the entire plant. Tomato plants usually start looking anemic and spotted after producing lots of tomatoes.
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 21:50
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    Given the foliage on the plant in your image link looks diseased. together with the sunken areas on the fruits, I reckon its either anthracnose or bacterial rot. It would be odd for bacterial rot to have affected all the fruits unless they all had cracks, sunscald or other entry points, but it would not be odd at all if your plants have succumbed to anthracnose and it had time to develop inside the fruits missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/…
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 22:07

1 Answer 1


Check this article out for possibilities. sunken lesion tomato

Another article I found (I am really hoping this is not early or late blight): sunken lesions on tomato This also discusses whether or not to 'toss' the fruit and not preserve.

  • Thank you! Pretty sure it's anthracnose. My wood chips came from a friend who allows the town to dump them on his property so I assume som of these trees were infected and I spread it all over my yard. They were free so you get what you pay for I guess. Will treat it as fungus and should be able to save the rest of the plants and future fruit. Here are some pics though. ibb.co/d877U8 ibb.co/e1MZ98 ibb.co/g9WO2T ibb.co/iFNKbo ibb.co/kOmHU8 ibb.co/j3JmNT ibb.co/e9OWp8 Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 14:24
  • What do you mean, "treating it like fungus"? There is nothing you can do to get rid of anthracnose. Aside from planting only plants that are resistant and lowering the conditions that promote fungus, there is nothing you can or should do. Check the species that are experiencing this disease (not positive it is anthracnose yet) to see if that species was resistant or not so resistant. The species of tomatoes that are not showing this disease should have been bred to be resistant, if this is anthracnose. Just another avenue to check off to be more assured of anthracnose and remedies.
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 23:58
  • Fungicide is first and fore most a 'raincoat'. Once an plant has been infected by one spore, one drop the entire plant is infected and needs to be pulled and disposed of. Only one fungus that can be treated after the fact and that is powdery mildew. Are these 30 tomatoes in pots with potting soil or are they in the general out of door's garden? If they are in pots please tell me you used sterilized potting soil? Planted in the garden they will all be subjected to this fungus or whatever problem it is you have. You should see a marked difference between the resistant plants.
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 0:16
  • I use pots and potting soil for my solanaceae and brassica and curcubit crops. My 1000 square foot greenhouse beds are rotated religiously. Pots and sterilized potting soil vastly enlarges my food growing real estate. If you plant tomatoes in a section of garden soil, tomatoes nor any of its genus mates can be planted in that same soil for at least 2 years.
    – stormy
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 0:18

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