Blossom End Rot is not actually a disease but rather a physiological disorder found most commonly on tomatoes, but also on peppers, cucumbers, squash, melons and eggplant. It is caused by a calcium deficiency, and often triggered by inconsistent watering or soil pH.
The effect is a water soaked spot at the blossom end of the fruit appearing leathery, and turning brown to black, eventually rotting. Infected fruit should be discarded.
The immediate solution for plants affected is going to be a foliar spray. Foli-Cal is a liquid calcium formulation for the correction of the calcium deficiency. Be sure the plants are hydrated before application and repeat in 14 day intervals as needed.
Vegetables need calcium for healthy development. When tomatoes, peppers, melons, and eggplant can’t get enough from the soil, the tissues on the blossom end of the fruit break down. The calcium shortage may be because the soil lacks calcium, or calcium is present but is tied up in the soil chemistry because the pH is too low. Also, drought stress or moisture fluctuations can reduce its uptake into the plant. Another reason is that too much fertilizer (primarily nitrogen) causes the plant to grow so fast that the calcium can’t move into the plant quickly enough. And cold soil if planted early.
Start now by testing the soil. Although most vegetables do well with a soil pH of 6.2 to 6.8, for those with blossom-end the pH should be 6.5 to 6.8 to free more calcium in the soil chemistry. Test results will indicate the amount of lime to add. Even better, fast-acting lime also contains calcium. Work the lime as deeply into the soil as possible. Use a lime labeled 'fast-acting'. Bring us a 16 oz cup of soil and we will test the pH free of charge. Measure your square feet so we can calculate how much lime you need.
Don’t over-fertilize. Too much nitrogen during early fruiting, especially with nitrogen made from ammonia, ties up calcium in the soil chemistry. Consider changing from your quick release fertilizers like 10-10-10 to slow released fertilizers like our Wood Ace 14-14-14. It is also balanced, has minor nutrients included, and lasts up to 6 months. This will control the rate of nitrogen released. Avoid moisture stress. Use mulch to keep the soil evenly moist. Vegetables need about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water a week while fruiting. As with lawns, deep watering less frequently is best. Mulch not only retains moisture but minimizes garden weeds, and looks nice. Water bags can help conserve water and improve watering depth.
Rotating your crops each year will help reduce the depletion of some elements in the soil, thus improving the overall health of your plants.
Foli-Cal - 1 pint $9.99
Fast Acting Lime – 30 lbs $12.99
Wood Ace 14-14-14 Fertilizer slow release – 40 lb $48.99
Mulch - Numerous kinds and colors, available in both bulk and bagged.
Tree Gator Pro Jr. - $22.99 (low profile watering bag)
Soil pH test – No Charge!!!
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Blossom End Rot: