Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

I have Blossom End Rot! May 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — austinurbangardens @ 9:56 pm
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Before you turn away thinking I’ve just finally gone too far with too much information or a that I just revealed a personal problem, it’s all about the tomatoes.  I’ve had two gardening issues this season with tomatoes, the overly huge tomato plants toppling over the Earthbox.

Crazy Earthbox Tomatoes (last weekend)

And the other problem, one I’ve been plagued with before, is Blossom End Rot.  Last Fall, I had this problem with mostly the Colstoluto  Genovese tomatoes I planted.  The heirlooms seem more susceptible to it.  This year, I’m not sure what the plants are that are getting it, but I know they are heirlooms, because I know where my hybrid plants are.  (I’ll pick 3 more big Celebrity tomatoes tomorrow from the first producing plant.)  This can affect peppers and tomatoes as well, although I’ve only ever encountered it in my tomatoes.

So, blossom end rot, is when the bottom of the tomato develops what looks like a bruise.  The tomato will not recover, once this happens, it will spread to the entire tomato.  The best thing to do, it pluck it, so that the plant can focus it’s energy, on fruits that will develop normally.  Here is what it looks like, sadly:

Blossom End Rot

I have had this problem for several years, and never have figured out the problem.  Some say its from over watering – something I’ll never be accused of.   Lack of calcium can also be a problem, as can over-fertilizing.  I don’t have enough wide spread problem to conclude that I’ve over fertilized.  I did amend the soil with Ladybug 5-2-4 before planting.  So, I’ll just have to wait and see.  I hate tomato drama.  But, that’s life with a garden.  It’s always something!  So far, I’ve only had one tomato hornworm, which scares the begeezus out of me.  Now, I’ve discovered that it turns into a cool hummingbird-like moth, so I’ll have to discontinue squishing them.  They are disgusting when squished anyway.


12 Responses to “I have Blossom End Rot!”

  1. Marc O. Says:

    I have seen a couple hornworms on mine, but fortunately they were small. I did squish them. As it turns out there is a related (and god, do I hope they don’t like tomatoes!) hornworm that turns into a sphinx moth. It seems to like my coral honysuckle and evening primrose… fine by me. Stay in the front yard and nibble those, please! The moths are spectacular, though. I spent a couple nights last year photographing them:
    There’s a caterpillar photo there, too… along with a chunk of the calylophus it was eating.

    I’m glad I haven’t seen blossom rot. I’d read about that, but not what causes it. My tomatoes are planted in pure compost made in my yard, though I have fertilized since. I might back off on that. Plants seemed to be doing fine without it anyway.

    • Your photos are always spectacular. I must replace the busted camera soon.

      • Marc O. Says:

        Thanks for the photo complements! Most of the time it’s out of a form of boredom that I decide to go photograph things like mercurial moths.

        I’m rethinking my strategy with respect to hornworms after your comment about not squishing them. I’m going to give them a fighting chance. I’m going to pick the leaf they are on and transport them to the middle of the driveway in front. If they can find their way back and not get picked up by wasps or birds, they can have what they can eat before I find them again. 😉 Of course, one worm could make this journey several times since I can’t tell them apart.

        I tried this with the white-lined sphinx caterpillars. They appear to have no trouble finding their way back to the plant.

      • That’s nice of you regarding the hornworms. I’ll be interested to know if they find their way back.

  2. Caroline Says:

    Blossom end rot plagued my squash plants all last summer. So annoying!

  3. Scott Says:

    I know this is a test case of n=1, but my celebrity plant got blossom end rot last year. After some searching around, I added 1 tsp of epsom salts to the soil around the plant and watered it in and pulled the affected fruits. No more blossom end rot. I’m guessing that the soil around here needed a shot of magnesium(?) for tomato production. This worked on in-ground and container tomato plants. I’m down I-35 in SATX.

  4. As I understand the cause of blossom end rot, it’s not so much over-watering or under-watering, it’s the change. Tomatoes need a consistent steady amount of water. If they dry out completely between waterings and then get watered heavily, they are more apt to develop blossom end rot.

    As Scott says above, a shot of Epsom salts will provide magnesium. But even better is dolomite lime which has both calcium and magnesium. I put a tablespoon in the bottom of the hole when I plant my tomatoes. It’s worked so far (fingers crossed).

    • Hey Melissa, thanks for this information! I picked another tomato this morning with blossom end rot, which is just depressing. I have some dolomite, and will try watering some into the soil around the plants, until I re-plant for fall tomatos.

  5. Carlos Says:

    I too have used epson salt to fix end rot. Love the site.

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