Tomato Blossom End Rot
WHAT IS IT?
That black spot is called “Blossom End Rot”. It develops on the “blossom end” of the tomato (or squash or pepper) opposite the stem.
IS THE FRUIT OKAY TO EAT?
Affected fruit can still be eaten, just cut off the black part. There is nothing harmful about the fruit, they just didn’t develop properly.
DO YOU NEED TO START OVER?
Good news, your plants are fine - they are not diseased and this is easily remedied. Blossom End Rot is usually more prevalent on the first fruit that appears and future fruit is sometimes okay even if the plant is not treated. It usually develops from rapid plant growth, extreme temperature differences, soil becoming dry or a lack of calcium when the first fruit is setting. We have found that some customers experiencing excessive rain fall have had a problem with Blossom End Rot.
HOW TO TREAT
A real easy way to treat this is to mix one cup of hydrated lime (powder) to a gallon of water and add it to the water well. You can find hydrated lime at our garden center. You will only need to do this once – and any fruit that begins to develop after just a few days will be fine. Don’t overdo it though – adding too much lime will burn your plants.
Another treatment involves a little more work. This problem is so common, you can request the products by brand name or just mention Blossom End Rot. Two readily available products are: Bonide Rot-Stop Tomato Blossom End Rot and Bonide Tomato & Vegetable 3-in-1.
This should take care of it and you should still be enjoying your share of tomatoes this season.
TOMATO BLOSSOMS AREN’T SETTING INTO TOMATOES – OR THEY ARE FALLING OFF.
This is usually either caused by night time temperatures not going below 70 degrees, or a lack of pollination. To help blossoms pollinate, gently shake your tomato plant or use a child’s paint brush to move pollen from one blossom to the next. By imitating the work usually done by bees and the wind, you should begin seeing fruit in no time. A great product for this problem is Bonide’s Tomato Blossom Set Spray. It makes blossoms set fruit despite poor weather and nearly every blossom will produce larger, meatier tomatoes.
HOW DO I SUPPORT THE TOMATO PLANTS?
You can put support stakes right next to the tomato plants when they were about a foot tall and that will work just fine. Also, you can use tomato cages stuck right into your garden as well. Herbein’s always carries a large selection of stakes and cages for just this reason.