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How to Prevent Tomato Blossom End Rot

How to Prevent Tomato Blossom End Rot

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It’s almost time for garden tomatoes to reach their tasty peak of ripeness so they can be harvested and enjoyed. This is also the time when blossom end rot strikes ripening tomatoes and destroys the harvest. Use these how-to tips to prevent blossom end rot from destroying your tomato crop.

Blossom End Rot
Blossom end rot strikes a ripening tomato (can strike squash, peppers, cantaloupe and cucumbers) on the underside of the tomato where the blossom used to be. The top and sides of the tomato will look normal, but the underside will have a circular black spot that is sunken in and decaying. It will destroy the tomato and the remainder of the crop unless it is taken care of quickly.

Cause of Blossom End Rot
Blossom end rot is caused when the plant has an insufficient supply of calcium. The calcium content of the garden soil has been depleted during the growing cycle of the plant and now the soil does not contain calcium to bring the tomato plant to a health harvest.

The calcium supply of the soil is typically depleted early on in the growing season when abundant spring rains give way to dry, summer days. The soil calcium is leached out by the abundant rain water, then the dry soil inhibits the plant from uptaking the remaining soil calcium.

A high or low soil pH level can also cause blossom end rot, so can an excessively high amount of nitrogen in the soil.

The Fix
The problem can be fixed after it starts, but some of the harvest will be lost.
Remove all afflicted tomatoes from the plants and discard.

Mix ½ cup of Epsom Salt in a gallon of water and pour 1/2 gallon of the mix on the soil around each afflicted tomato plant. Epsom Salt can be mixed with any type of water soluble fertilizer instead of plain water and poured around plants.

This dose of calcium is quickly absorbed into the garden soil and made available so the plant can uptake it and save the remaining tomato crop.

Prevention
Before planting tomatoes next season, broadcast a generous amount of Epsom Salt on top of the garden soil and work it in. This will ensure a sufficient supply of calcium in the soil for the growing plants.