Blossom End Rot
If you planted our Spring Box, you're seeing lots of tasty tomatoes ripening. But what if some of them have a nasty brown scar on the bottom. What is that and is there any way to prevent it?
If you're seeing this, you're seeing Blossom End Rot. This is something that effects tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplants, and a few other veggie types. The good news is that this can be prevented!
Blossom end rot is primarily caused by a lack of Calcium and/ or inconsistent watering. Our bones are made out of calcium-- its what provides structure to our bodies. Similarly in tomato fruit, calcium is really important for them to develop strong, delicious fruit. Not enough, and that brown scar starts to form at the bottom where the fruit's structure is weak. The more calcium that's missing, the bigger the scar.
So how can we make sure our tomatoes get enough calcium? There's two simple ways.
The first is water. If the tomato's roots have too much water, it's almost as if they're drowning. Because of this, they're not able to absorbe the right amount of nutrients. Similarly, if there's not enough water, the plants won't get the nutrients they need since nutrients are carried into the plant through the water they drink up. Making sure your plants are consistently properly watered will really help. Remember-- not too much water, not too little. If you think of a moist cake, that's the amount of moisture that your soil should consistently have. With proper watering, you should see your tomatoes improving within two weeks in most cases.
The second is calcium. If your soil doesn't have enough (or any) calcium, then it won't matter how much you water, your plant will never get any of the calcium it needs. Here's a few ways you can add calcium to your soil:
- Powdered Milk- As kids we were told to drink our milk since it would make our bones strong. That's because it has lots of calcium. If you add some powdered milk, it'll immediately add some calcium to your soil giving you fast results. You should see your tomatoes improving within a few weeks. You can try milk too, but we can't guarantee that your garden won't smell like fine French cheese for a few days!
- Eggshels- These are full of calcium! If you grind them finely and add them to your soil, these will give a boost of calcium. The only downside is that these need to break down in the soil before your plant can absorb them which will take quite a bit more time. Expect to see slower results.
- Lime or Calcium Carbonate- These are minerals that have calcium in them and can increase the amount of it in your soil. They act quickly (results within a few weeks), the only drawback is that you might not have them around your home.
Unfortunately, if a tomato has blossom end rot, there's nothing that can be done to take it away from that tomato. The best thing to do is to pick and compost any tomatoes with blossom end rot so your plant can transfer its energy into growing the undamaged and new fruit that remain. The good news is that your plant is still producing the same amount of energy. Because of this, you're not really loosing out on your fruit production, you're just transferring it to the new fruit instead of the damaged fruit.
Growing your own food is all about learning these little tips and tricks, so you can get better and better each season. Each garden is different. Some people may see blossom end rot, others may never. The fun part of gardening is learning about your garden, how plants grow there, and making it better and better with each passing season. It's all about progress, not perfection. So keep up the great job you're doing as you enjoy delicious food that's as fresh and local as it gets!
As always, we're here to help you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us on social media with any questions we have. We're here to help you have your #EasiestGardenEver!