Tomato blossom end rot

Gardening with Rabbits

Garden Addicted
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
2,790
Reaction score
3,227
Points
297
Location
Northern Idaho - Zone 5B
DD has 1 tomato plant and has been getting a couple tomatoes now and then but today she has a couple with blossom end rot. I don't remember how I used to treat this. When I look it up, it says to use lime and I know I did not do that. How do you treat it?
 

Crazy Gardner

Attractive To Bees
Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
70
Reaction score
169
Points
68
Add some lime for calcium. I used dolomitic lime dissolved about a handful in 3 gallons of water, allows the roots to take it up immediately. It is also mainly caused by irregular watering. I think if you treat it both with lime and regular watering, the future fruit should be unaffected.
 

digitS'

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
20,535
Reaction score
11,039
Points
457
Location
border, ID/WA(!)
Allowing the soil to become too dry is what I have blamed for blossom end rot. Some varieties are more prone than others. Apparently, paste types are some of those but I have limited experience with paste tomatoes and limited experience with BER.

Calcium aids in the movement of water within plant tissue, we are told. I have not had soil tests for my current gardens. There is quite a caliche layer everywhere I have had reason to dig down very deep and that suggests that there is quite a lot of calcium, or was at one time.

You may not have used lime in the past because of the characteristic high pH of soils in the Interior West. So, you may have used agricultural gypsum, which is not supposed to change pH.

One thing, if these are the first tomatoes off the plants, we can expect them to be weird. Conditions for their development were not ideal.

Steve
 

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
8,288
Reaction score
6,910
Points
327
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
DD has 1 tomato plant and has been getting a couple tomatoes now and then but today she has a couple with blossom end rot. I don't remember how I used to treat this. When I look it up, it says to use lime and I know I did not do that. How do you treat it?
is she growing them in pots?
 
Last edited:

Dirtmechanic

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 14, 2019
Messages
684
Reaction score
1,215
Points
187
Location
Birmingham AL (Zone 8a)
Hand raised from the back row here...question?

While dolomotic lime might be emulsifiable in water, or even whatever dissolved exactly means, does that mean it is directly usable for the plant or must it pass through and be composted by the biota prior to becoming a usable molecule? And if lime as a rock or powder is not directly absorbable by roots, would calcium nitrate, which I understand is one - if not the- soluble forms of calcium for that small quick fix?
 

Crazy Gardner

Attractive To Bees
Joined
Jul 19, 2019
Messages
70
Reaction score
169
Points
68
Hand raised from the back row here...question?

While dolomotic lime might be emulsifiable in water, or even whatever dissolved exactly means, does that mean it is directly usable for the plant or must it pass through and be composted by the biota prior to becoming a usable molecule? And if lime as a rock or powder is not directly absorbable by roots, would calcium nitrate, which I understand is one - if not the- soluble forms of calcium for that small quick fix?
I had a flash just now reading this, and it was only after I used the lime I read another article that said you can use powdered milk as well. Probably a bit more expensive, but maybe more likely to be absorbed?
I did read that eggshells need to compost for months before becoming usable, but that lime was immediately available for roots to uptake. I am no expert, but I can post a link if I can find it.
 

Ridgerunner

Garden Master
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,432
Reaction score
7,126
Points
377
Location
Southeast Louisiana Zone 9A
Its my understanding that minerals have to undergo enzymatic digestion before becoming useful to plants. Its a poo factor.
Seedcorn is probably the best pretty active member to address that. I certainly don't understand enough of the details to give a good answer. My understanding is that, for most nutrients, the roots release something that separates the ions from the soil so they can be transported into the plant and distributed. They have to be in a chemical condition that allows the ions to be separated. The basic minerals form compounds, often with hydrogen and oxygen, so the bonds need to be weak enough that whatever the roots release can separate those ions. The soil pH has a big effect on this too.

I don't see where there is any requirement that these minerals undergo enzymatic digestion to be in the proper form to be used. The plant roots don't care how the nutrients got into the proper form, just that they are. I'm pretty sure nature can create the right compounds without digestion, though digestion would be a process to do that. That digestion would come about by the bugs that live in compost and make it work. The nutrients in dead plants and dead animals are not in a condition to be absorbed by the roots and they need to (compost, rot, or break down, choose one) and the bugs do that. My guess is that is what they are talking about, converting dead plans and animals to usable form. But lightning can create some of those compounds out of thin air. I'm sure nature has other ways.

This thread started talking about blossom end rot. That's caused by not enough calcium getting to the fruit blossom end. That does not mean there is not enough calcium in the soil, it means there is not enough calcium getting to the fruit. High pH can tie calcium up in compounds that the plant cannot use. Adding calcium like lime can raise pH. That's good in a highly acidic soil, not good in an alkaline soil. The way the plant gets calcium to the fruit (leaves too) is it's absorbed by the roots and transported to the fruit where the moisture transpires, sort of evaporates, leaving the calcium behind. The typical reason you get blossom end rot is that the soil is so dry not enough moisture is being taken up and the end of the fruit is the end of the journey. The fruit blossom end is starved for calcium. Managing moisture in the soil is important, mulching can help. Don't forget that if you suddenly go from a dry soil to a wet soil the fruit is likely to split, especially tomatoes.

There can be other causes. Maybe you don't have enough usable calcium in the soil (a soils analysis is supposed to look at usable calcium, not total calcium). Clay soils usually have plenty of calcium available, sandy soils often don't. If the humidity is so high the water cannot transpire so it doesn't leave enough calcium behind. But usually it is dry soil.

@seedcorn , how badly did I butcher this? Please feel free to correct my mistakes.
 

seedcorn

Garden Master
Joined
Jun 21, 2008
Messages
8,853
Reaction score
7,669
Points
397
Location
NE IN
You are 100%. Blossom rot is a calcium deficiency. Why the calcium deficiency is always the $1M question.

You explained perfectly why soil needs to be in good shape as nutrients are best utilized through roots-not through leaves. Roots feed the plant, leaves make the energy from sunlight, nutrients are stored in plant and fruit-which we eat. Need a tomato sandwich....
 

Latest posts

Top