Monday, September 8, 2014

The Dreaded B.E.R.

The tomatoes have been coming along nicely-tons of deep red and orange jewels mixed in the green foliage. This year I tried out cattle panels for 'cages' and it has worked wonders! Definitely going to be a go-to method from now on.


It's happened!

Blossom End Rot.

Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! RUN!!!

Blossom End Rot is basically a calcium issue where the plant does not get enough calcium after setting fruit, causing the fruit to slowly rot from the end (where the blossom was) up. Generally this is caused by poor watering skills. Overwatering *cough* or underwatering (especially letting the ground dry out between waterings) can cause too little calcium to be available.

So...Hi! My name is Corie, and I'm a bad gardener.

I don't have a good watering system set up-its pretty much a hose, sprinkler, and when I remember. Most years this has been fine since I've only had one season's worth of plants to worry about. But this year I've really pushed to get in early/late spring seeds, midsummer seeds, and early fall seeds. Those seeds need water (especially the early fall ones-its been hot and dry in my neck of the woods). No matter how much I've tried to direct the sprinkler only to one section of the garden it still tends to wander (and I have "assistance" from a child or pup). And I didn't get a load of horse poo this spring to till in (like I usually do) AND I didn't test the soil before planting. *hangs head in shame*

Oddly, its only the romas that have been effected. The rest of the tomatoes are doing fantastic.

Once BER sets in there is nothing that can be done to save the affected fruit. It is still edible, just cut the rotten section out. It is possible to save new fruit that hasn't set yet (ie is still in blossom stage) by adding calcium to the soil. It doesn't always work though. I scattered bone meal all around plants, watered it in, and crossed my fingers. Lime is another possible solution (test the soil first to see how much you might need); and I've heard of making a milk and water solution and spraying the entire plant (though that just seems weird to me-does a tomato plant really need a milk bath?)

So far the bone meal seems to be helping-I am beginning to get more tomatoes without issues than before, but its doubtful I'll have enough to can a year's supply of tomato products like I'd planned. Oh well, more to eat fresh!

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