The Q&A Archives: watermelons

Question: hello, my question is im trying to grow watermelons, the last 2 years they have all turned black on the end of melon when it gets 4 to 6 inches long, everything else is growing great, cant figure this out, they all do good until the melon starts growing, brother says lack of calcium , dont know about that. any help is appreciated, thanks steve

Answer: What you describe sounds like blossom end rot. Your brother is right. Blossom end rot is 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. Don't wait until you see it to spray with Blossom End Rot spray. If you have an annual problem with blossom end rot, treat when the fruit reaches marble size. However, usually the other cultural practices will control the problem without the need for spraying.

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