Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tomato Blossom End Rot

Hello again,

What a great gardening season! Bumper crops of fruits, veggies and flowers everywhere!

However, we have had more than a few customers ask us about Blossom End Rot appearing on their tomatoes. Good gardening friend Margaret of http://www.awaytogarden.com/ wrote recently about Blossom End Rot and I like how she described it:

"...it’s generally a thumb’s-up tomato year so far. But with multiple hot, dry spells here (even though I have been watering!), I keep worrying about the dreaded blossom end rot. And here it comes—though hopefully not to stay.

Blossom end rot, which (just as it sounds) is a rotting of the fruit that begins as a watery spot on the blossom end, also affects peppers and eggplants. It’s a physiologic disorder—not something caused by a virus or fungus or bacteria, like so many other tomato ailments, but rather by physical stressors that prevent the fruit from taking up enough Calcium to come to ripeness in prime condition.
(Tomato Blossom End Rot)

The watery spot transitions to a dry, sunken lesion (it looks as good as it sounds, above, served up on a non-silver spoon).

Why the deficiency of Calcium, though? What did I do wrong? Various factors can bring it about, including soil that suddenly goes dry (as in a fierce heatwave--we have had much in terms of heatwaves), excessive fluctuations in soil moisture (it has been dry and easy to not consisently and thoroughly water as we should have--especially container vegetable plantings), over-application of high-Nitrogen fertilizers (not guilty!), root-system damage, or the excess of other soil salts (frequent Miracle Gro applications can leave excess soil salts), among other causes."

So what we can do as there is lots of fruiting time left. To ensure great quality tomatoes, eggplants and peppers water your plants at least twice weekly if they are in the ground. Plan on watering container vegetable plantings at least 4 to 5 times per week for the remainder of the gardening season. Our veggie plants have really grown and they have lots of hungry roots and the soil dries quickly now in containers. FEED your plants weekly with a good natural dose of Fish and Seaweed Food by Neptune's Harvest. The calcium found in this product will help quickly to stave off Blossom End Rot and bring you better quality fruit!

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
August 3, 2010

No comments: