Your tomatoes are setting fruit, and you’re waiting for the first blush of color. You think you’re doing everything right for a healthy crop. But then you start to notice something…here and there the bottom of some of your precious tomatoes are starting to look brown and soft. The spots are getting bigger. What the H*$@ is happening?
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What you’ve got on your hands is a condition called Blossom End Rot. However, it’s not a fungal disease as the name might imply, but a physiological condition caused by lack of calcium uptake in the plant, which is often caused by uneven watering practices. And you thought only people needed calcium for healthy ‘bones’. Blossom end rot can also affect other plants that you may have in your veggie garden like squash, cucumbers, melons, eggplant, and peppers.
Unfortunately, once blossom end rot has started, you’ll need to remove the damaged fruit. Not all is lost though because you can take steps to prevent further damage. Here are some tips to prevent Blossom End Rot:
- Use high-quality organic planting mix for container/raised bed planted tomatoes.
- Amend the soil with organic tomato/vegetable fertilizer, kelp amendment, and crushed eggshells at planting time. Avoid
- Choose varieties of tomatoes that are resistant to blossom end rot. I find that smaller tomatoes and early maturing varieties tend to be more resistant.
- Set up a watering schedule to ensure that the soil is evenly moist at least 6” deep.
- Add tomato/vegetable fertilizer and kelp amendment according to package instructions every 2 weeks for raised bed and container tomatoes until fruit starts to set. For in-ground tomatoes, fertilize at planting time and then again when the plant is in bloom.
I hope you’re enjoying some tasty tomatoes this summer. If you’d like to learn more about how to grow the best tomatoes (planning, planting, maintenance, and troubleshooting), sign up for my course The Confident Tomato Gardener. Right now it’s
$47.00 $27.00 through July 4th. Click HERE to enroll, and take the course at your own pace.