Why are my tomatoes rotting right before they ripen???

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I live in N.E. Tex, we got a late start due to all the rain this spring. I have tons of beautiful tomatoes, homestead and merced, but I'm leaving them on the vine to ripen, but as soon as they start turning even a little red they're getting rotten spots on them, yes some of them are touching the ground but not all. No, this is not blossem end rot. I've put hay mulch and newspapers underneath the ones which are touching the ground, I've mulched with the goat barn stuff with hay on top, have been bothtered some by, grasshoppers, ahphids, tomato hornworms, and crickets. By the way, we're getting wonderful rain this weekend, we sure needed it. thanks

-- Carol in Tx (cwaldrop@peoplescom.net), June 30, 2001


What makes you think it is not blossom end rot?

-- Paul Wheaton (paul@javaranch.com), June 30, 2001.

Carol, are these little black spots? If so, it may be ant bites. I had a problem with this last year. Usually they would wait till the tomato began ripening, then they would attack, leaving little black specks on the fruit. Once in a while I'd find one still in the tomato.

-- Mark M in NC (MagicMark85@aol.com), June 30, 2001.

That's interesting. I didn't know ants would do that; in Texas, we sure had plenty of them. Last year I neglected to cage a bunch of tomatoes, and the ones that touch the ground will always rot. Also, sporatic watering seems to cause it as well.(But I believe that would mostly end rot.) I know it hurts to see those beautiful tomatoes go to waste!! Hope your luck turns, Carol.

-- mary, in colorado (marylgarcia@aol.com), June 30, 2001.

had the same thing last year. Friend told me a lack of calcium does that. This year planted tomatoes with all the pulverized egg shells we saved.

-- sulix johnson (tpf59@ziplip.com), June 30, 2001.

We had the same problem last year. Local gardening talk show host Andre Viette said it was from too much moisture in the ground. We had had lots of rain. I suppose you got lots from the hurricane coming through?

-- daffodyllady (daffodyllady@yahoo.com), June 30, 2001.

Dear Carol, I think your problem may be the type of tomatoe you planted, I set out about six differant varietys, Brandywine, parks whopper, First prize, celebrity, double rich, and arkansas traveler, I planted in two long rows, mulched, and had given the soil lots of bone meal during the winter for calcium. First prize was beautiful, smooth, large and tasted great. not one bit of trouble.Brandywine did real good too. The rest all rotted, got to pink stage and just rotted. So next year it will just be First prize, and brandywine. you can order the seeds from tomatoe growers supply co. at p.o. box 2237. Fort Myers, Fl. 33902. They have a great catalog, every type of tomatoe known to man, and peppers hot and sweet. lots of pictures. Web site is www.tomatogrowers.com I hope this helps, Irene

-- Irene texas (tkorsborn@cs.com), June 30, 2001.

Thanks for all the responses, I'll add calcium over the winter where my tomato beds will be next year, they could be ants (I guess) it's not little black spots, but they're soft and gushy spots, I had a cracked one that the ants were in, the cracking is from the sun or fast growing. Not sure about the moisture, my soil is very sandy, of course I've been improving it each year and have mulch under the plants so thats a possibility. I think I'll try some different varieties also, the homesteads were my father in laws old favorites for this area years ago, I had really good luck with the merced's 3 yrs ago. Thanks Carol

-- Carol in Tx (cwaldrop@peoplescom.net), June 30, 2001.

It could be a calcium lack but more than likely it is a blight. I hate to do it but the only way to solve the problem is with a fungicide. If you do'nt take care of it now you will lose 99% of your fruit. If anyone knows of a non-toxic fungicide, please, I'd like to know. Otherwise, I'm afraid the only solution is from Ortho or Monsanto.

-- Melle Jan (janado@msn.com), July 01, 2001.

Carol, if you think it's calcium deficiency, you can give them a quick shot by pouring some milk around their root areas.

-- Laura Jensen (lrjensen@nwlink.com), July 04, 2001.

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