Blossom-End Rot in Today’s Garden Spot


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Blossom-End Rot

Blossom-End Rot

Have you ever gotten around a group of people that grow tomatoes, pepper, eggplants among other vegetables and ask the question “Does anyone know what causes the bottom of  vegetables to have blossom-end rot?” If you know the answer to this question, listening to the remedies is fun.

Blossom-end rot is not a disease that can be spread by garden pests, or something that is transmitted through infected plants. It also isn’t a result of a poorly pollinated flower. The answer truly is that while a developing tomato, pepper or eggplant is producing the fruit, it doesn’t get the necessary amount of calcium to the end of the fruit while it starts to develop.

Why? This disorder is caused by uneven watering when the fruits are developing, the vegetable plants take advantage of nutrients in the soil-especially when you’re growing in containers. Extended droughts, over watering, or drought followed by over watering can lead to blossom-end rot. Basically, your tomatoes and other vegetables are getting blossom-end rot because you’re not watering properly when the plant needs it most. Don’t let your vegetable sit in soggy soil and don’t let the soil dry out to the point that the plant is wilting. If your tomatoes are showing signs of blossom-end rot you can just simply remove the affected fruit(s) and ensure you properly water your tomatoes from here on out to keep the rest of the crop from being affected.

Blossom-End Rot Pepper

To control blossom-end rot, take the following steps:

1.)  Keep the soil’s pH at 6.0 to 6.5.  If indicated than apply the recommended rate of lime, using dolomitic or high-calcium limestone. Apply lime every two to four months before planting tomatoes, peppers an eggplant.

2.) Apply the required amount of fertilizer based on soil test results for tomato’s, peppers and eggplants. Applying too much fertilizer at one time can induce BER. Following soil test recommendations is the best way to fertilize properly.

3.) Use mulch pine straw, straw, decomposed sawdust, plastic or newspapers. Mulches conserve soil moisture and reduce incidence of blossom-end rot (not recommended if you get down pours regularly).

4.) Give your plants adequate water. Tomato plants need about 1.5 inches of water a week during fruiting. Extreme fluctuations in soil moisture can result in a greater incidence of blossom-end rot.

5.)  If your plants develop calcium deficiencies, spray them with a calcium solution at the rate of 4 pounds of calcium nitrate or calcium chloride per 100 gallons of water (or four level tablespoons per gallon of water). Be careful with calcium chloride. If day temperatures are greater than 85-90 F, calcium chloride can burn plants. Under high temperatures, use calcium nitrate. You should spray two or three times each week, beginning when the second fruit clusters are blooming. Spraying calcium is not a substitute for proper irrigation and fertility management.

6.)  Some varieties of tomatoes tend to be more sensitive to conditions that cause blossom-end rot. Try growing several varieties and keep notes as to their performance under your growing conditions.

7.)  If you experience severe problems with blossom-end rot, remove the infected fruits. Once a fruit develops blossom-end rot it will not re-grow or repair the infected area. Leaving the damaged fruit could serve as an entry point for disease-causing bacteria, fungi and insects.

Happy Gardening~ ~Valerie

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