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goblueM

tomato troubles

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I think I've got some soil issues - tomatoes are growing fine, but at least half of them are starting to rot on the bottom. They're growing fairly well, but then this dark brown/black rotting starts creeping up the fruit from the bottom. Everything else in the garden is doing just fine

Any ideas on what is going on? Do we have a calcium deficiency or is something else going on... and what's my next course of action? Thanks

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Blossom end rot is caused by either to much water or not enough.As soon as tomatoes start to show on plants,put a mulch of grass clippings or straw around each plant to stabalize the moisture.Lack of Calcium causes it and the plants will rob the fruit of it to survive thus causing the ends to get brown and leathery.

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I always keep a bed of grass clippings around the plants in my garden. With the grass clippings there, there is never a need to pull weeds or hoe. It also helps keep any moisture from drying out real fast.

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Last year, I did have a garden and I had tomatoes and I kept my garden mulched pretty well with grass clipping...but I still got bottom rot on my tomatoes....not sure why...I dont have a garden this year....

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The Mulch thing works great,but for minerals (it may be too late but try) thro some EPSOM SALTS around your plants.The minerals make sweeter,larger tomatos,acctually I apply it when tilling and when flowers appear.

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I have BER on probably 15 percent of my tomatoes. I pull tomatoes off the same plant that are fine. Just because you get a couple don't automatically think the whole plant is shot. I don't have any way of proving this but I think the BER happens when watering is too high when the fruit starts to blossom from the flower. Once it happens that fruit is doomed. When other fruit starts to blossom with correct conditions that will grow into normal fruit. If all your tomatoes have this it might be more of a blight problem.

Also if your tomatoes are indeterminate as soon as they start turning color you should pick them and place them in a brown paper lunch bag and let them finish ripening in the house instead of on the vine. I cant remember the gas these tomatoes produce but by confining it to a bag makes the tomatoes ripen a bunch faster and there is less chances of an animal or parasite attacking the BER fruit. I have had some that have not gotten deeper then the skin so the fruit is still intact. I have also tested flavor from vine ripening and bag ripening on my early girls and there is no flavor difference.

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Yeah that is the stuff. Ethylene gas. These tomatoes were bag ripened. You can see the one with the pointed end has very small BER.

tomatoe.jpg

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Recommendations:

1. Maintain soil pH around 6.5 as shown by soil test. Do not assume that blossom-end rot is sure evidence that the soil lacks calcium. Other conditions that interfere with calcium uptake can cause calcium to be demanded in higher quantities than the plant can physically supply.

2. Use a nitrate nitrogen rather than one that releases nitrogen in the ammonium form. Excess ammonium ions reduce calcium uptake. Also make sure that the plants are not overfertilized especially when the fruit are small. Usually 1½ pounds of a 10-20-10 fertilizer applied before planting is sufficient for tomatoes though sandy soils may need monthly sidedressings.

3. Maintain even soil moisture. Mulches conserve moisture and moderate soil moisture extremes. Even with mulches, weekly irrigation will be necessary if there is no rain. Fluctuations in soil moisture often leads to an increase in blossom-end rot.

4. Make sure tomatoes are planted in an area with good drainage. Excess water causes roots to smother leading to reduced calcium uptake.

5. Do not hoe too deeply. Deep hoeing can damage roots and thereby reduce calcium uptake.

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