Growing tomatoes can seem very easy for some folks and enjoying your own vine ripened heirloom tomatoes is a real treat. However, there are several issues that can arise seemingly out of nowhere and ruin what a tomato gardener thought was going to be a bountiful crop. I have noticed that August is when tomato diseases and problems usually start to appear in my part of the world.
Blossom End Rot is one of the most common of these conditions. The bottom side of the tomato fruit develops an unattractive sunken leathery dark brown or black spot. The spot will enlarge as the fruit develops eventually rendering it inedible. Stems and leaves show no symptoms. The cause of this is a calcium imbalance in the fruit, which happens when the roots can’t absorb the proper proportion of calcium in relation to other necessary nutrients, even when there is adequate calcium in the soil. Uneven watering creates this situation. Plants that are subjected to wet/dry cycling, particularly if allowed to dry to the point of wilting, will develop Blossom End Rot.
Prevention is the key. Water regularly and evenly from the bottom, use an appropriate tomato fertilizer, and apply Great Big Tomatoes liquid compost every other week to keep the soil healthy.
Contributed by Jim Mast