One of the Barn Nursery's most frequently asked questions is "Why are my tomatoes rotting on the bottom?" It's a frustrating problem that is easily solved with the right products.
Blossom End Rot is the answer. Blossom End Rot often appears when the tomatoes are about 1/2 grown to maturity and looks something like a "watery blob" or "water soaked" lesion on the bottom of the fruit. As the problem develops the spot becomes dark brown and sunken taking up half the size of the tomato.
Blossom End Rot is caused by a calcium deficiency in the plant. A lack of calcium causes the cells to break down, leading to the rotting of the fruit. There are two reasons this can occur.
1. Inconsistent Watering: The biggest cause of Blossom End Rot is inconsistent watering. Calcium needs a continuous flow to the fruit. When plants dry out, the flow of calcium stops, the fruit continues to grow, but without the calcium. It is kindof like clogged arteries; the dryness prevents calcium from reaching the tomatoes.
How do you avoid this? Maintain Moisture. Check for water daily. Mulch it. Ideally you would aim for a consistently moist garden.
2. Lack of Calcium In the Soil: Correct Soil Preparation is important here. In our area, we do have a nice amount of calcium present in our soil. Tomato plants suck up calcium so it is important to occasionally replenish the calcium in your garden soil. Lack of calcium in the soil occurs more often in tomatoes grown in containers, since potting mixes are notorious for not containting calcium.
How do you correct this? An easy way to add calcium to your soil is to use Espmoa Organic Tomato Tone. Mix Tomato Tone into your beds or containers at the beginning of the season and then replenish once a month.
Another option is the liquid spary product by Bonide, Rot-Stop, for a quick fix. If you have been guilty of inconsistent watering, this product gets calcium directly to the fruit immediately. It cannot "heal" tomatoes already rotting, but it will prevent it in new fruit.
These products are available for sale at our Garden Center in Crystal Lake. Feel free to call us with questions at 847-658-3883.