tomatoe disasters - Knowledgebase Question

san diego, Ca
Question by gondolf37200
August 30, 2010
I just dont know where I went wrong.I have a urban garden with tomatoes and basil.The basil is store quality and I am proud of myself.However,my year with tomatoes is the disaster.They just turn brown and either die orI get fed up with them turning brown and just trash them.This never happened before.Where did I go wrong.


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Answer from NGA
August 30, 2010

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I'm not clear from your description whether the plants turned brown or the tomato fruits themselves turned brown so I'm not sure what to suggest. If the fruits developed problems, it's probably 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 the plants themselves are turning brown the problem may be a fungal infection (early or late blight, verticillium or powdery mildew). At this point there's not much you can do other than to remove the plant material from the garden. To keep next year's crop from developing the same disease, be sure to plant your tomatoes in a different part of the garden (some diseases are soil borne). Hope you have more success with your tomatoes next year!

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