Garden Tips, Gardening, Gardening 101, Growing Tomatoes

How to Prevent Blossom End Rot in Your Tomatoes!

Dealing with Blossom End Rot can be a pain in the butt. That’s putting it nicely.

The good news is, that blossom end rot is not a disease, but a symptom of nutritional issues, and you can still have an amazing crop this season, with these tips.

The good news is, that blossom end rot is not a disease like black spot or other issues. Blossom end rot is caused by environmental issues, and I’m probably going to ruffle a lot of feathers with what I’m about to say.

blossom end rot in tomatoes
Photo by Huma Kabakci

The going myth, rampant on the internet at the moment, is that blossom end rot is caused by lack of calcium which is… kind of true, but not in the way most people understand it. There are recommendations to throw tums to each plant for calcium or to crush up a bunch of eggshells and dump them around your plant. Banana peels are soaked in water and then used to water the plants.

While these aren’t terrible ideas, the problem is that most of this calcium is not easily bioavailable to the plants and doesn’t do much immediately.  The issue is your plants’ ability to draw up moisture which makes their use of calcium an intermittent thing in dry weather an issue.

Because here’s the thing: if you have amended your soil properly, good compost, organic matter, you have a good tomato/vegetable fertilizer for your plants, you have enough calcium in your soil for your garden. Let me repeat, you have enough calcium for your plants. And keep in mind, too much calcium in your soil, like most other things in the garden, can cause just as many issues as too little. So again, if you are amending your soil regularly, stop dumping ‘calcium’ in. You have enough!

The #1 issue is the watering and drying out of the soil in the heat. Fluctuations in moisture inhibit the plant’s ability to utilize calcium evenly while the fruit is growing. Hands down, this is the number one problem I see. With hot dry weather causing drought, thunderstorms intermittently flooding everything, and the gardener trying to keep up with watering in between, it can be trying to come home after work and see the soil cracking around your peppers and other plants. So what do we do? Give everything a good soak of course!

So how does one deal with this? If you have been around this community for a while, you will know that I am a huge fan of mulching your garden vegetables. Blossom end rot, or preventing it is one of the main benefits of mulching around your plants. The reason being is that it slows down water evaporation and prevents those extremes in moisture balance, from dry to soaked. It will definitely save you time watering as well because you won’t have to water as often. If you haven’t yet read the blog post Tips on Less Weeding And Watering in Your Garden, you can read it here.

If you are struggling with really hot weather, if can be super helpful to put a drip irrigation on a timer down under your mulch, ensuring that regular watering goes right to the roots of the plants where it’s needed most. Get a timer set so your watering is regular and for the length of time needed for your soil and weather.

Harvest the fruit that is spoiled, you can use it if it is only small spots that are affected. Cut the fruit open and see if it’s good. This is not a disease, it’s simply a formation issue due to lack of proper calcium uptake.

Make sure your plant has proper nutrition, get the watering/moisture sorted out, and the rest of your crops for the season should be fine.

Here is a youtube video to help you out further with details. Leave me a comment below if this helped you at all!

 

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