Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blossom End Rot

I was really bummed this week to discover that some of my tomatoes have blossom end rot. I have probably pitched 7-8 tomatoes. I grow my veggies and herbs in containers because I don’t have a lot of room where there is full sun. I was really happy this spring to discover that the thyme had survived the winter and I replanted the rosemary I had taken inside last fall and it has done really well. This year I planted a bush Early Girl and it has grown and produced quite a few blossoms that will eventually turn into tomatoes.

Blossom end rot pretty much tells you what the disease does in tomatoes. The blossom end turns black and eventually the whole tomato rots. It is caused by a lack of calcium and is due to irregular watering. Too little water and the plant cannot take up enough calcium, too much and the nutrients are diluted. I think it is exacerbated in container gardening because there is only so much soil to hold water and nutrients and the roots can only go so far before they reach the side of the container. When the tomatoes are in the ground at least they can send the roots farther out to search for nutrients and water.

The most immediate remedy (besides correcting the water issue) is water soluble calcium that you can spray on the leaves of the tomato. It is available at Countryside and is called Blossom End Rot Stop.

Planting tip: If for some reason you are having to plant or transplant in this heat, use an anti-transpirant such as Wilt Stop or Wilt Pruf. This will keeps the plant from losing moisture and will make your planting more successful. Plants need about an inch of water a week and prefer to be watered deeply and infrequently rather than frequent shallow waterings.


Mary said...

I was hitting the "next blog" button browsing other blogs and I'm glad I found yours! I try to do mostly organic gardening, especially in the spring and summer. My plants are all in containers due to lack of light in our small yard, and our tomatoes have this too! I thought they were just bunched too closely to another tomato, but now I know the reason! I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog. Thank you!

lillinda said...

I also found you by hitting the "Next Blog" button. Glad I did because I also wondered what was causing this problem. I grew some container tomatoes and 2 "topsy-turvy" cherry tomatoes. Those did really well and would have done better with more regular watering.
Now I know how to correct it. Thank you !

Danielle said...

I too found you by hitting the "Next Blog" button. We had a problem last year with our tomatoes. I didn't know there was an actual reason for it. I just assumed it was the weather. Thanks for the info.