You’re on your way to growing the perfect tomatoes. Once you’ve selected your favorite varieties, planted and cared for the seedlings, all that’s left is to take a bite into your first harvest.
But wait. That tomato doesn’t look so appetizing.
If a dark, water soaked spot has formed on your tomato you may have blossom-end rot. This problem is likely caused by an imbalance of calcium in the plant. You may also see this on peppers, squash, cucumbers and melons. The spot enlarges and darkens rapidly as fruits develop. Large spots will dry out and appear to be leathery.
Tips to Keep Blossom End Rot Away
- Maintain consistent soil moisture throughout the growing season. When the weather is dry, water at least twice a week and moisten the soil to a depth of at least 6 inches.
- Plant tomatoes in warm soil. Seedlings planted in cold soil are likely to have limited nutrient uptake.
- Fertilize with Tomato-Tone to make sure plants are getting the nutrients they need.
- Amend soil to maintain soil pH at or near 6.5.
- Add a layer of mulch to minimize evaporation and help maintain consistent soil moisture. Remember not to volcano mulch.
The reasons are many as to why the plant may not be able to take up enough calcium to support the fruit, but most lie in the soil. The best way to prevent blossom end rot is to have a soil test done before planting to determine if the soil has adequate calcium.
Other reasons include:
1. Fluctuations in soil moisture
2. Excess of nitrogen in the soil
3. Root damage
4. Soil pH that’s either too high or too low
5. Soil that’s too cold
6. Soil that’s high in salts
Unfortunately there’s no use saving these tomatoes. Pick off damaged fruit as soon as you notice the rot and compost them.