End Rot on tomatoes - Knowledgebase Question

white plains, Ne
Question by carolcmptr
July 8, 2010
During this dry spell, I have been watering my tomato garden (all plants are in containers) in the early morning and late afternoon when the sun is low in the sky. What could be causing the horrible brown section on the bottoms of each tomato?


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Answer from NGA
July 8, 2010

0

What you describe sounds like 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. 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. The tomatoes are still edible. Just cut away the affected portion.

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