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Garden Problem Solving 101-- Blossom End Rot...

Monkeyfister's picture

From time to time, I'm going to try and provide some advice and fixes for common garden problems for you. Stuff that I have encountered and battled with, and other problems that I might be currently experiencing and want to help you avoid.

Have you ever had a Squash, Pepper or Tomato plant growing wonderfully, setting lots of fruits, and suddenly one day, discover the blossom ends of the fruit starting to go black and rot?

Problem is BLOSSOM END ROT! Pretty aptly named, eh?

It seems terrible to look at-- worse yet when it strikes your beautiful Tomatoes! OH NOES!!!

But, fear not, this is an easy problem to fix, and the fix is cheap, as well.

Blossom End Rot is caused by a lack of Calcium in the soil.

Tomatoes and Cucurbits are heavy Calcium feeders, and need it in abundance. So, be sure to ALWAYS recycle those eggshells into the garden soil. Oh, but that is not enough, and not the quick-fix that we need, now is it?

No. It's not... C'mon Monkeyfister-- get on with it!

OK. Here ya go:

Your plants are screaming for two things-- Bonemeal and a product by Espoma, called PLANT-TONE 9available anywhere-- I go to Loews or the local Ag Co-Op. Put one cup of each around the "dripline" (under the branches of the plant) of each plant, gently work into the soil, and water in thoroughly. Then water a bit every day. Lime is also a good thing to work into the soil. But don't over-do it, just a little dusting to the soil, as it can over-adjust the soil pH. Liming is best done before planting, and ALWAYS use a soil pH tester. Using these inexpensive products, you'll see improvement in 7-10 days.

via Ohio State University Ag Extension

# Maintain the soil pH around 6.5. Liming will supply calcium and will increase the ratio of calcium ions to other competitive ions in the soil.

# Use nitrate nitrogen as the fertilizer nitrogen source. Ammoniacal nitrogen may increase blossom-end rot as excess ammonium ions reduce calcium uptake. Avoid over-fertilization as side dressings during early fruiting, especially with ammoniacal forms of nitrogen.

# Avoid drought stress and wide fluctuations in soil moisture by using mulches and/or irrigation. Plants generally need about one inch of moisture per week from rain or irrigation for proper growth and development.

# Foliar applications of calcium, which are often advocated, are of little value because of poor absorption and movement to fruit where it is needed.

So don't spray that shit on your plants-- put it in the ground, and water it in!

I hope this helps you!

And seek your local Ag Extension online-- they are a fantastic resource.

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Submitted by lambert on

Next year....

Notice I put your post under the right department, and made the tagging a little more specific....

[x] Very tepidly voting for Obama [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Monkeyfister's picture
Submitted by Monkeyfister on

Or a Category of Gardening?

WTF is Il faut cultiver notre jardin?

Do I need to speak French to post?

I speak German and Italian (Sardinian Dialect).

It's your blog. I can post here or not. I'm just trying to be good and useful and friendly.



From High Atop The Mighty Corrente Building... Comes Wisdom.

Submitted by hipparchia on

no, you don't need to speak french here, i certainly can't [i have no idea what i just proposed to frenchdoc and vl and whalshaman a little while ago, hope it turns out to be fun].

it's just that lambert is really getting into this gardening stuff and likes having it nicely categorized and labelled so it's easily searchable later.

when you post your garden-related stuff just choose from the Departments: dropdown menu the line that says Il faut cultiver notre jardin.

FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

[i have no idea what i just proposed to frenchdoc and vl and whalshaman a little while ago, hope it turns out to be fun]


FrenchDoc's picture
Submitted by FrenchDoc on

"Il faut cultiver notre jardin" (we must take care of our garden) is a Voltaire quote from Candide. It's actually at the end of the book after Candide has witnessed a whole bunch of nasty stuff and ends up on a small farm with the other 2 main characters in the book.

See the whole thing in English here. It's rather short.

What would you people do without me? :-)