problem with tomatoes - Knowledgebase Question

san pedro, Ca
Avatar for ninalu2006b
Question by ninalu2006b
August 29, 2010
I am growing tomatoes for the first time, and with my cherry tomatoes I don't have a problem but with the tomato plant I bought at Home Depot, the tomatoes have the bottom part of the fruit brown, like it was dipped in mud. Some of them look ok but there are like 5 with this spots, what is it? Can I do something? Is the plant sick? Is my other tomato in risk?

Answer from NGA
August 29, 2010
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. Now that blossom end rot has developed, spraying the affected tomatoes won't help, but next year you might want to have the spray available so you can spray as the fruits are beginning to form. The tomatoes are still edible. Just cut away the affected portion.

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