So you’ve planted those lovely tomato seeds. You’ve made sure they’re well supported. You’ve even kept them watered and fed with fertilizer.
But lo and behold once they start bearing fruit, black spots appear on the bottom of your tomatoes. What’s the deal?
If you’re seeing bruises on the underside of your beautiful tomatoes then that’s most likely blossom end rot.
Don’t fret because today, we’ll be talking about how you can identify and prevent it from wreaking havoc in your garden. Let’s get started!
What is Blossom End Rot?
Blossom end rot is a watery soft spot near the blossom end of a developing fruit like tomatoes, peppers, and squash.
It starts as a small blister that eventually rots. Other times, it looks like a dark bruise on the fruit.
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As the spot enlarges, it sinks and darkens in color, often black or a leathery brown.
In many cases, secondary pathogens may also attack the affected area, and over time, the whole fruit eventually rots.
What Causes Blossom End Rot
Blossom end rot is a common problem in the garden however, it is not caused by pathogens. Instead, it is caused by a calcium deficiency in tomatoes, peppers, and squash.
This typically happens when plants grow too quickly which prevents them from taking up sufficient amounts of calcium from the soil to promote proper fruit development.
Stress can also prevent your crops from taking up sufficient calcium.
Improperly watering plants can also cause blossom end rot. If the soil is too dry or over watered, the plant can’t get the right amount of calcium from the soil either.
Blossom end rot can also be caused by over-fertilization during early fruiting. It’s important to use just the right amount of fertilizer so that your plants can produce blemish-free fruits.
Control and Prevention of Blossom End Rot
Much like any problem in the garden, all hope is not lost if your peppers and tomatoes get blossom end rot. There are certain things you can do to control it and prevent it from happening in the future.
If it’s already occurring in your garden, be sure to remove the affected fruit. Pinching off fruits gives your plants a chance to blossom again and bear normal fruits.
After fruit removal, be sure to apply a liquid calcium fertilizer to augment calcium levels in the soil.
To avoid blossom end rot in the future, its best to plant tomatoes in well-drained soil.
Amend the soil with organic material to promote calcium take up once your plants start fruiting.
Make sure also that the pH level of your soil is just right. Tomatoes should have soil that has at least a 6.5 pH to prevent blossom end rot. If the soil is too acidic, add fast-acting lime into the top 12 inches of soil to bring up its pH.
Planting at the right time also ensures that your plants don’t get blossom end rot. Soil that’s too cold prevents roots from adequately developing so wait for the weather to get warm enough before planting.
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Use just enough fertilizer. Too much and too little of a good thing is bad for your plants.
If you use too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer, your plants will divert its energy towards developing leaves and away from fruit development.
At the same time, too little fertilizer means your plants won’t have enough nourishment to support growth.
Finally, watering your plants properly also ensures that they can effectively take up calcium from the soil.
Don’t let them dry out and keep the soil moist but not soaking. Laying mulch around your plants can also help the soil retain moisture allowing for a steadier growth rate for your crops.
By following these tips you can grow juicy and plump tomatoes and sweet peppers in no time!
Do you have other tips for preventing blossom end rot in the garden? Let us know in the comments below.
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