The Q&A Archives: My tomatoes and the creeping charlie

Question: My tomatoes are not turning red this year and the 2 that have turned were brown on the bottom. Is my soil lacking something?

Mushroom are growing in my creeping charlie plant, what wrong?

Answer: Your tomatoes have "blossom end rot", a physiological condition caused by a lack of calcium at the growing tip of the fruit. While your soil may have adequate calcium, fluctuations in soil moisture content from dry to wet really increase the incidence of blossom end rot. It is especially bad on the early fruit each summer and in sandy soils. The damage occurs as cells die at the tip of the fruit. In time (and as the fruit grows) the spots enlarge and turn black. So, by the time you see it, the damage actually has already occurred some time back. Remedies include having a soil test to make sure calcium levels are adequate, adding organic matter to a sandy soil to increase its moisture holding capacity, keeping plants evenly moist, especially during the development of the first fruits (mulch helps maintain soil moisture), and spraying plants with a Blossom End Rot spray (contains calcium) which can usually be purchased from your local garden center.

Mushroom growth almost always indicates something decomposing under the soil. Could be plant roots, could be wood or construction debris, or it might just be some organic matter in either mulch material or potting soil. Just pick the mushrooms and toss them in the trash before they have a chance to release their spores (and cause additional mushrooms to grow).

Best wishes with your garden!

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