How to Banish Blossom Rot From Your Tomato Garden

How to Banish Blossom Rot From Your Tomato GardenBlossom rot, or blossom end rot, is a common problem encountered by professional and back yard tomato gardeners. You may be asking what is blossom rot? It is a disease that that can be identified by a dark, rotten spot at the blossom end of developing tomatoes.

But no need to despair, as there are techniques you can use to counter act blossom rot before it even starts. It is pertinent that you follow through with the methods, because once the end rot appears on an individual fruit, there is no way to cure the affected tomato.

You can cut away the rotted portion of the tomato after you harvest it and safely eat the portion that was not affected, but it is best to eliminate the problem before it reaches that point.

How To Prevent Tomato Blossom Rot

Let’s examine these questions:

  1. How does blossom rot start?
  2. How can I prevent it from showing up in the first place?

Blossom end rot is a physiological affliction of the tomato plant. Initial symptoms can  and consist of small, light brown flecks and lesions occur initially on green fruit that are clustered on the blossom end of the developing fruit.

As the disorder worsens, a circular to oblong, dark brown, firm lesion develops on the blossom end.

If blossom rot is left unchecked, you can lose a large portion of your entire tomato crop to this condition.

What causes blossom end rot is the plants deficiency in calcium. Adequate amounts of calcium are needed in order for tomato plants to produce their fruit properly. Even if you have plenty of calcium in your soil, your plants may not be able to effectively absorb it for a number of reasons. When this occurs, your plants are at risk of contracting blossom rot.

Prevention

Now to answer the question of how to prevent blossom rot in the first place? To prevent blossom end rot is making sure your plants have getting enough calcium and are able to absorb enough of the mineral.

soil test kitBefore planting your tomatoes, be sure to have your soil tested or do it yourself with an inexpensive soil testing kit.

Ideally, your soil should be slightly acidic, with a pH somewhere running between 6.2 to 6.8. The plants also need a constant supply of major and minor plant nutrients as well (Bonnie Plants).

To start, if your soil is too acidic, add some limestone to increase the pH. Use caution when adding this soil amendment, because adding too much will cause the soil too be, to alkaline.

If this occurs, or if your soil is naturally alkaline, you can amend it with rich organic matter, elemental sulfur or an acidifying fertilizer, such as ammonium sulfate. It can be very challenging to lower soil pH, however, because limestone in the ground is continually dissolving.

If you live in an area where alkaline soil is a fact of life, you may want to build raised beds to create a more favorable environment that tomato plants will thrive and produce tasty fruits.

water base of tomato plant

Image Credit: HGTV – Garden

Once your soil is at the optimum pH level, you’ll want to ensure your plants are receiving adequate moisture.

Optimal tomato growth requires regular and deep watering, so that water gets all the way down to the entire root system.

Make sure your plants are receiving 1 to 2 inches of water weekly, and more if a warm spell comes on.

To reduce the chance of foliar diseases, water the base of tomato plants and avoid getting water on the leaves, especially if you’re watering in the evening.

Blossom end rot will usually occur at the start of the season as the first fruits appear. If you notice your tomatoes are showing possible signs of blossom rot, make sure your plants are watered deeply every 4 to 5 days. If it is extremely hot in your area, water them even more frequently.

To determine when it is time to water your plants, dig down 3 or 4 inches into the soil. If the soil is moist, wait 24 hours and check again. When the soil at that level is dry, it is time to water again.

seaweed extractFinally, many tomato gardeners also swear by liquid kelp (seaweed) extract as a way to combat blossom rot. Sea Kelp contains a natural substance you can use to condition soil, and it can contain more than 70 vitamins, minerals and enzymes essential to the health your tomato plants.

The extract and fertilizer are readily available in local garden centers, large home improvement stores or via online retailers. You may want to test it out on part of your garden to see how it works for you.

Although blossom rot can be a garden dilemma, it is time will spent in preparation and planning your tomato garden, which will go a long ways towards eradicating blossom end rot from your garden.

Header Article Image Credit: Durham County Master Gardener Volunteer Program

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Benefits of Growing an Organic Vegetable Garden

Benefits of Growing an Organic Vegetable Garden

Benefits of Growing an Organic Vegetable Garden

Most of us go to the nearest grocery store to purchase fruits and vegetables. Most of the produce we buy is brought in from faraway places, like blueberries are brought in from Columbia during the winter months in the northern hemisphere (in the N.H. of the earth fresh blueberries are available May thru October).

You also take the chance of buying fruits and vegetables that have been grown with the use of dangerous pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides, unless of course you buy organic produce. But even then, most people will not, as they consider organic produce too expensive.

Have you given it thought to growing your own fruits and vegetables on your own piece of land, and if not possibly claiming a small plot for yourself in a community garden?

You can grow your own produce without using any chemicals that are used in growing traditional commercial produce. Growing your own food supply also saves you money and allows you to contribute to a more healthy earth for all living things.

An Organic Vegetable Garden Is Threefold

How is having an organic vegetable garden threefold? Consider the following.

When you decide to grow organic, or even buy organic foods, you are committing to growing and eating food in its natural state.

An Organic Vegetable Garden Is ThreefoldWhat would you use in place of chemicals? You would use mulch, chicken manure (can be used all season long as it will not burn the plants roots, like cow manure can), or compost to fertilize the garden.

Having an organic vegetable garden will require weeding, watering, and harvesting the vegetables and fruits when they become ripe. But don’t think of weeding as work or time consuming. Think of it as exercise, which your body needs in the first place to stay healthy.

Having an organic vegetable garden is threefold,

  • Growing and enjoying your own food
  • Doing so without chemicals
  • Getting in exercise at the same time

Organic Vegetable Gardening with Your Health In Mind

As an organic gardener, you will learn how to grow foods holistically and with health as a priority. Your own grown organic produce will contain valuable nutrients, such as more phytonutrients (less are found in chemical grown produce) for better health.

Stepping out of your home to the garden affords you picking and harvesting fresh produce at its peak. Having an organic garden doesn’t only give you food, it also gives you better health.

Composting for a Healthier Organic Garden

Composting for a Healthier Organic GardenYou will need to have a compost pile, which contains leaves, grass clippings, other plant debris, and kitchen food scraps. All of this once it has decayed, forms the best soil and fertilizer available for your organic vegetable garden needs, and it’s free.

Worms and other garden creatures will eventually get in action of converting your compost heap into raw matter, which is a pure, black, healthy earth.

How Organic Gardening Can Help Us

Organic farming and gardening has many positive effects on our lives, benefits that range from physical to social, and to our emotional wellbeing.

Once you start gardening you will find it a stress relieving adventure.

You can spend more time out in the sun tending your organic garden, and getting the vitamin-D which your body needs to keep your skin and bones healthy. You will become more physically fit by working in an organic garden.

You get to use your muscles on a regular basis and you will be growing food that is actually healthy to all parts of our body.

You can feel comfortable that you are not adding to the destruction of the earth and its valuable soil. Putting your hands in the dirt can be soothing and can bring satisfaction of eating your own grown and harvested food.

Starting an Organic Garden

Potted tomatoes cultivated in town on a balconyIf you don’t have a lot of land, or live in an apartment complex with a small patio or balcony that gets at least 6 hours of direct sun, you can grow your own produce using pots, to and grow vegetables like tomatoes, herbs, and peppers.

If you have your own home and land, be sure to always have a compost heap so you always have a ready supply of rich soil.

Find a sunny spot in your yard and till it, making room for several rows of whatever type of vegetable you like.

In conclusion, if you don’t find gardening is for you, then make it a point to always buy organic foods at the store (in season produce is cheaper).

Doing so, you can do your part in keeping the earth, its soil, animal life (bees and other pollinators) healthy, including yourself.

 

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