There is nothing more exciting that finding your first bright red ripe tomato of the summer! The taste is amazing. However there is nothing more disappointing than realizing those beautiful red tomatoes have blossom end rot!! It's so sad to see these half or mostly ripe fruits half rotten!
So what causes blossom end rot and how can we prevent it from happening?
Although most commonly found in tomato plants, it can also occur on other vegetables such as zucchini, melons, eggplants and peppers. The end of the fruit where the blossom was (opposite the stem end) will start to rot as the fruit starts to ripen. This is caused from a calcium deficiency in the plant. This may or may not indicate a calcium deficiency in the soil. Sometimes there is an ample supply of calcium, but your plant is not able to use it properly. Your plants may not be able to absorb the calcium for a couple of reasons;
uneven watering. If your plant has been fluctuating between too dry and too wet it will cause stress to the plant and the calcium will not be absorbed
tilling the soil too closely to the plant. Your plants root structure is imperative to fruit production. If you've hoed or rototilled too closely to the base of your plant you may have disturbed the root system which again causes stress and reduced calcium absorbtion.
Unfortunately once your fruits have blossom end rot there is nothing you can do for those fruits. Hopefully you can increase the over all health of your plants and it will keep blossoming to produce healthy ripe fruit later in the season. The best solution however is prevention! In order to avoid this problem all together we recommend the following:
When planting your tomatoes add a scoop of pelletized hen manure or another fertilizer that is rich in calcium. We prefer to use Acti-Sol which is an organic product that is made in Canada. This bit of calcium goes a long way in making sure you have healthy plants & fruit.
Water evenly. Water at the base of your plants and try not to either over or under water. Watering in the morning is best, especially if you are getting water spray onto the plant. Tomatoes planted in the ground will require much less watering by hand than those in containers. Patio tomatoes will require daily watering. Tomatoes in a vegetable patch may not require any watering once established depending on rainfall.
Avoid hoeing or disturbing the soil around the base of your plant. Pull weeds by hand as needed. Don't disturb those precious roots!
If you think your problem stems from uneven watering consider mulching around the base of your plant to help keep the moister levels more even.
Hopefully these pointers help you to keep blossom end rot at bay and enjoy a beautiful healthy crop of yummy tomatoes!