Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Disgusting Farm Experience #126: Blossom End Rot

It's Nightshade time. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants... they're everywhere. Escape is impossible. Assuming you would want to, that is.

We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 tomato plants, which is actually a slightly conservative estimate on my part. I've literally dreamed about harvesting tomatoes, more than once.
Tomatoes have plenty of problems. Just about everyone's heard about tomato blight, for example, which caused all those problems in 2009 when plant distributor Bonnie Plants sold thousands of infected plants through Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot and K-Mart.

I never heard about blossom end rot before this year, though.

Caused by a lack of calcium in the soil, blossom end rot starts as a tiny brown spot at the blossom end of the tomato. As the tomato grows, it expands to rot away the whole fruit if you let it.

The way we try to prevent this extremely disgusting problem is by spraying the plants with a calcium solution, using our highly fashionable backpack sprayer.

By spraying the calcium as a foliar feed, the plant takes it in and then distributes it to the soil - good news for future plants, since the soil here has an acidity problem.

It does, however, make the skins of the tomato a little tough. Well, a lot tough, actually. We've been aiming for a weekly spray, which - let's be honest here - doesn't always happen.

Even with blossom end rot, we have more tomatoes than anyone knows what to do with. Good thing the chickens like them.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! We have that problem with our tomatoes out back! Mako and I weren't sure exactly what was causing it. I'm pretty sure this is it! Not sure we'll be donning the calcium backpacks, but it's good to know the source. Maybe we can put some of our eggshell-y compost in that area or check out the garden supply area.