Gardening is one of the favorite past times around our home. And just like many of you, we toil and work and do everything we can to make sure that our garden not only looks great, but that it produces well. When the weather begins to warm and the hours are put into the ground to prepare it for the vegetables that are to come, you never really give a lot of thought to the bad things that can happen. You prepare the soil as best you can and then you plant your seeds or small plants and you start the process of caring for them diligently.
One of the most common and sought after vegetables in the garden is the tomato. Tomatoes are a great crop because they are so versatile. There are many different varieties and sizes that you can choose from and the flavors are all mildly different as well. Yet as the green tomatoes start to turn many people are starting to realize that the fruit is not doing as well as you would have hoped for. In many cases the fruit is turning red and vibrant but you begin to notice that the bottom of the fruit is turning black. At this point, most rookie gardeners assume that the fruit is rotten and pick it and toss it away. The first thing you need to know about this situation is that you are not alone. This problem is called blossom end rot and it is one of the most common problems in tomato and pepper plants.
Blossom end rot has several main causes but the most common cause of this issue is a lack of calcium in the dirt. In many cases of blossom end rot the soil is relatively new to gardens and therefor it does not have the built in nutrients to supply the plants. Calcium is one of those nutrients that is desperately needed but often times not found. When the calcium levels are too low the fruit will essentially begin to eat itself. Left untouched this disease will ravage the entire crop and you will be left with nothing more than half red and black tomato’s. However there is something that you can do to prevent this issue from creeping into your garden.
The first step is to better prepare your soil in the starting stages of your garden. It is always a good idea to add fertilizer and lime to your soil before planting to help boost the nutrient levels in the soil. However there are specific items you can purchase that can make a difference. It is a good idea to incorporate some form of calcium supplement into the holes that your plants are going into. This type of action will help ensure that your plants get what they need when they need it. It is also important to make sure that your plants are adequately watered and cared for. Adding straw around your plants will help regulate the water that they receive and this too can help alleviate some types of blossom end rot.
If you already have planted your garden and you are noticing the blossom end rot it is not too late to act. There are however a few things you need to be aware of. By this time the plants are in deficient mode and they do not have the time to wait on slow acting/releasing fertilizers and pelletized limes. If your plants have already started producing but they are falling victim to the blossom end rot, take the time to use a product such as a liquid calcium supplement. This type of product will mix with water and then be sprayed directly onto the plants. This will help fortify them and it will eliminate the blossom end rot in most cases.
A few other points to keep in mind is that your garden is going to be a breeding ground for weeds. Always try to keep the weeds as pulled as possible. The more grass and weeds that collect in your garden the fewer nutrients that your plants will receive. Also make sure to water your garden thoroughly on a regular basis. Blossom end rot can ruin your crop…but it doesn’t have to.