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