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

What Others Are Reading:

The Best Tomato Varieties For Your Container Gardening

The Best Tomato Varieties For Your Container Gardening

A great alternative for the tomato gardener with limited garden space is to use buckets, pots or containers to grow tomato plants.

Container gardening offers many advantages, such as growing a few plants in containers is a lot less intimidating to beginning gardeners than trying to plan and care for a large vegetable garden. Without a doubt, it is much easier to care for and maintain a small container garden than a large outdoor area.

Planting your tomatoes in a portable set up allows you to move your tomato plants around so they get the necessary sunlight each day. Though growing tomatoes in the sun is necessary, but the fruit themselves do not need sunlight to ripen, as the tomato actually ripens fastest in the absence of sunlight. Tomatoes ripen because of heat and ethylene gas, not because of sunlight (Gardening Know How).

A word to the wise, not all tomato varieties are perfect for container gardening. To ensure that you receive great tasting tomatoes, and the biggest possible yield, then take a look at these three tomato varieties.

Container Gardening With The Right Tomato Plants

Japanese Black Trifele

Japanese Black Trifele TomatoAlthough the Japanese Black Trifele is considered a great container tomato, be advised that it can be found in both indeterminate and determinate varieties.

Before buying a particular plant, you’ll want to make sure the ones you are considering are the more compact variety.

The pear-shaped fruits of the Japanese Black Trifele will develop a deep mahogany color as a sign that it is ripe. This beautiful fruit is as visually appealing as it is delicious. You can expect a sweet and smoky, multi-layered taste.

Rareseeds says the plants produce loads of fruit all summer long, and has been a favorite with many seed savers.

Sungold Cherry Tomato

 Sungold Cherry TomatoThe Sungold cherry tomato is a indeterminate hybrid. These tangerine-orange cherry tomatoes are super sweet and savory.

The plant boasts as a vigorous, disease resistant plant, and as such this cherry tomato plant is very strong and requires very little care.

Also, a single Sungold plant can give you cherry tomatoes all summer long.

Brandywine

Heirloom Organics says that the Brandywine tomato is among the oldest heirloom tomato varieties, and have been grown for well over 100 years. The fruit is a large, slightly sweet, pink, beefsteak tomato that can weigh 1 ½ pounds. It is an indeterminate growing vine plant that can reach 9 feet in height with plenty of light and heat.

This tomato variety consistently wins first place in tomato taste tests not only in the United States, but throughout the world.

Some other great tomatoes to grow in your container garden include the Wapsipinicon Peach, with its delicious and fuzzy fruit or the intriguing Black Krim heirloom variety which yields large purple and red fruits.

The tomatoes we have mentioned here is far from a comprehensive list. With thousands of tomato varieties to choose from, you are sure to find great options for your container gardening.

What Others Are Reading:

Good For Your Health Household Chores Inside and Out

 Good For Your Health Household Chores Inside and Out

Most of us know that losing weight makes for a healthier body and in order to lose or maintain a healthy weight you must burn more calories than you consume. The amount of calories any one person requires really depends on their activity level, because the more active you are, the more calories will burn.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money and time to get a good workout. Why not get a great workout while at home without any gym equipment., how you ask? Doing household chores. You get the best of both worlds, that is the house gets cleaned and you’re burning calories in the process.

According to Health Status, an individual who might weigh 150 pounds will burn about 99 calories every 30 minutes of doing housework. Were as an individual who weighs 200 pounds, will burn about 131 calories in the same amount of time.

Keep in mind finding an easy way to clean your home could be less advantages to you burning calories. The harder you work, the more calories you will burn.

Let’s examine two areas of your home that can help burn calories, inside the home and out side the home, in your garden area.

Inside Calorie Burning

Here are some great ways to burn calories without ever leaving the house. These are especially good rainy day jobs that help keep you fit:

Vacuuming

Unless you have an ultra-lite vacuum cleaner, most vacuums are pretty heavy and lugging them around is a workout in and of itself. Take your time to really get the rooms clean. Move furniture that has been sitting in the same spot for a long period of time. That way you’ll get the aerobic activity of walking and pushing the vacuum cleaner plus the anaerobic activity by moving furniture around.

vacuuming burns caloriesBy the way, all these moves are considered functional movement, which is exercise that mimics everyday life activities and allows us to perform better in our daily tasks.

A person that is about 150 pounds will burn up to 120 calories in 30 minutes of vacuuming, or about 150 calories if you weigh around 180 pounds.

According to Live Healthy the following activities will help you burn between 235 and 310 calories in one hour. Your gender, weight, and age will determine the amount of calories you burn.

Cleaning Windows

You might have heard many house cleaners say, “I don’t clean windows”, but they do need to be done and this is a job best reserved for nice sunny days so you can see if you’re missing any spots through the window.

cleaning floorsGet a stepladder and a wad of paper towels or regular towels plus some good glass cleaner.

The act of climbing the ladder to get to the tops of the windows is great aerobic exercise and you get to tone your arms wiping the glass cleaner off the windows.

If you have windows that tilt in for outside cleaning, do both sides to burn twice as many calories.

Mopping the Floor

You can do it standing up with a mop and broom or you can get down on your hands and knees for close up scrubbing.

Either way, you can cover a lot of territory on your wood, ceramic, or vinyl floors, getting clean shiny floors and burning calories in the process.

Cleaning Curtains Blinds and Light Fixtures 

People generally don’t do this job enough and it really needs to be done once or twice a year. You’ll need a blind cleaner and a step stool. The up and down of getting on and off the step stool will burn aerobic calories and cleaning light fixtureyou’ll be able to tone your arms in the act of cleaning the blinds.

This is true of cleaning light fixtures hang from the ceiling as well.

Curtains need to be removed and either dry-cleaned or washed in the washing machine depending on the fabric. The act of climbing ladders to unhook the curtains burns calories as well.

Cleaning Out Closets

Think about having a garage sale and begin by cleaning out all your closets to find merchandise you can sell. Take everything out of each closet and dust or sweep the closet now that it’s empty. Then put back in the closet only those things you definitely want to keep. Everything else needs a place to store until you decide to have your sale.

Now let’s take a look at burning calories outside the home.

Outside Garden Calorie Burning

If you own or rent a home, there is always going to be outside work to do. Here are some activities that can burn calories in the process.

Mowing the Lawn

Manual grass mowerMowing the lawn benefits you from both aerobic exercise and resistance exercise. Mowing the lawn burns a little more calories then work done inside the home.

According to Fat Burn if you weigh 160 pounds you can burn up to 153 calories with 20 minutes using a manual reel-type push mower, and one hour of mowing burns 458 calories.

Mowing with a self-propelled gas or electric power mower uses fewer calories, and you will burn 115 calories in 20 minutes and 244 calories in one hour. Keep in mind your gender, weight, and age determines the calories you will burn.

Add some trimming around the trees and fences for added calorie burning and building arm strength and muscle.

Gardening

Simple gardening, including hoeing, planting, seeding, and pulling weeds burns calories and is something you can do all summer long. Make as big a garden as your yard space allows. You’ll have the added advantage of adding homegrown vegetables to your dinner table.

Digging holes for plants burns as much as 500 calories per hour (depends on gender, age and weight). Weeding involves the need to bend and use the arm and ab muscles; both serve muscle building and functional movement.

Health Benefits of Gardening 

Other added benefits of gardening include easing stress, improving your mood, and it’s great for your brain as well.

clean healthy earth is good for your health Two separate studies (16 year span) that involved seniors in their 60’s and 70’s found that those who gardened regularly had up to a 47% lower risk of dementia than those who don’t do any gardening, even when a range of other health factors were taken into account.

Digging in the dirt is great for your lungs as well. Healthy soil is full of bacteria. Gardeners inhale the bacteria, or have topical contact with it and getting it into the bloodstream when there is a cut on the skin.

These microbes in soil are a natural antidepressant, as they cause cytokine levels to rise, which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin, the high levels of serotonin produce happiness, better sleep, and better eating habits.

No you know the health benefits of household chores, they should be a chore anymore.

 

What Others Are Reading: