What's with my tomatoes??????????

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My tomatoes look beautiful. My husband built raised beds last year and they are producing like crazy this year. I have the tomatoes off the ground in cages and have watered and fertilized well. My concern is that about one in five tomato has a quarter or half-dollar sized area on the bottom of the tomato that is rotted. I could understand this if they had sat on the ground, but these aren't. It's brownish/green. Also I have some banana squash that have "crawled" over to the area near my tomatoes and I noticed a couple of the small squashes have turned black. Have I got some kind of yucky virus or blight in my garden? How do I find out? Has anyone had this happen to them? What do I do?

Thanks so much!

-- RNMOM (tegan@ida.net), September 05, 2001


Sounds like blossom end rot to me. This is the first year I've had it, its due to a lack of rain as the flowers were being pollenated. Most of my later tomatoes are devoid of it. They are still fine to eat, just trim the black spot

-- Dianne (yankeeterrier@hotmail.com), September 05, 2001.

i think you have whatis called blossom end rott, try not to water in the evening so the fruit does not stay wet all nite. a good sprinkle of epson salt around the base of the plant should help. but with any such thing of this nature see your local agriculture extension.

-- paul a coleman (wormfarmerone@yahoo.com), September 05, 2001.

Blossom End rot. It's caused by calcium in the plant not mobilizing the way it should, and it's USUSALLY caused by not enough water, so I don't see why yours should have it. I see a bit of it every year in mine, and if it's a bumper crop I just don't worry too much about it.

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (jlance@nospammail.com), September 05, 2001.

when I first started gardening, an elderly gentleman told me to dig my holes for my tomato plants deep enough to cover the first set of leaves of the plant, but also dump a small handful of lime in the hole before setting the plant. This is to aid against blossom end rot and I have never had a problem with it. Planting the plant deep in a hole allows all the fine hairs on the stem to become part of the root system, helping to feed the plant and add stability.

-- amy (amy_tarr@hotmail.com), September 05, 2001.

The deeper you plant then the less chance of total dry out too. I too plant deep but with a bit of epsom salts in the water and then mulch after the plants are in to keep the moisture more on an even keel. Going from one extreme to the other is also detrimental to fruit. The greatest weapon in the battle against blossom end rot is even moisture.

-- Alison in N.S. (aproteau@istar.ca), September 05, 2001.

I read in a gardening magazine that blossom end rot is caused by not enough calcium. They recommended grinding all your egg shells fine and sprinkling it on the soil.

-- Cathy N. (keeper8@attcanada.ca), September 05, 2001.

Thanks everyone, I feel better about this rather than thinking I had some kind of blight. Yes, they are a bumper crop. Usually in this cold part of Idaho I'm lucky to get any tomatoes by the first of Septmember when we get a good hard freeze. So far, so good.

-- RNMOM (tegan@ida.net), September 05, 2001.

A good way to add calcium to your dirt is to add a handful of powdered milk to the hole when planting your tomatoes.

-- Belle (gardenbelle@terraworld.net), September 05, 2001.

I thought I had it all figured out on how to avoid blossom end rot, until my tomatoes got it again. This last spring when transplanting tomatoes to my garden I added a handful of crushed eggshells to the hole that the plants would be inserted. (Eggshells/calcium!) I hardely got to harvest any at all this summer. We had plenty of timely rain. Not to much, not to little.

I was talking to my cousin who said he was having the same problem until he done some experminting. He said what he done was planted about 6 different varieties all in the same soil to see which one done the best. Out of six variaties, four developed blossom end rot. So ever since then he only plants the two variaties that didn't get blossom rot and has never had any problem since. When I get to thinking about it, last year I planted "Big boy" and "Beef master" in my garden and had real good luck, but I planted "Early girls and Arkansas travelers" this year and they all rotted.

Might be worth expermenting in your garden also.

-- r.h. in okla. (rhays@sstelco.com), September 06, 2001.

Since using our vermicompost (which is fed ground eggshells, cheese and milk), We have experienced no rot whatsoever.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), September 07, 2001.

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