Now that tomatoes are planted and growing, let’s take a look at some of the tomato problems and diseases. Tomato blossom end rot is a physiological condition, not a disease. It is not contagious and the tomato is actually still edible.
Causes for blossom end rot
Simply put, blossom end rot is a lack of calcium. Vegetables need calcium for healthy development. When tomatoes, peppers, melons, and eggplants can’t get enough from the soil, the end of the fruit starts to break down.
If you google causes for it you will end up with the same explanations all over. Personally I do not know what causes it. It may be that the soil lacks calcium, or the pH of the soil (or mineral solution in hydroponics) is too low so that calcium is not available for the plant. Also, drought or moisture, heat, and cold stress can reduce its uptake into the plant. Another reason is too much fertilizer that causes the plant to grow so fast that the calcium can’t move into the plant quickly enough. Or the roots have been damaged, and the plant is struggling because of it.
As a gardener it is hard to know which one of the reasons apply to your garden. Does the soil need more calcium, or has it already had to much fertilizer?
Our experience with blossom end rot
We do get blossom end rot on our tomatoes growing in the garage greenhouse. Not a whole lot, but enough to be aware of the problem. Interestingly enough we had the same problem growing tomatoes in grow bags, in hydroponics, and now in the wicking bed. Always the heirloom, bigger tomato varieties will get it, like Brandy Wine, Anna Russian, and this year Bulls Heart. Our cherry tomatoes have not had blossom end rot.
Even if all of the plants grow in the same conditions, soil, or solution, not all plants have blossom end rot, and not even all tomatoes on the same plant show the problem. Here is a cluster of tomatoes, one has blossom end rot and the other one does not.
This rather random experience does make me question what is commonly known about tomato blossom end rot. It makes me wonder if the problem isn’t in the plant itself. Maybe it’s an unhealthy start, or roots that have not developed properly.
How to treat blossom end rot
When we first had blossom end rot I went to the store to look for a solution for it. A local organic farmer happened to be there and hear about what I was looking for. He recommended Bone meal fertilizer, which is a good fertilizer for so many things. We also use worm castings and Epsom salt.
Overall though, we just try to keep the plants healthy and happy and the soil as healthy as is possible in an indoor environment. As I mentioned above, we do not have this problem in the outside garden.
If you do have blossom end rot in your garden, make sure to improve the soil of your garden with natural materials like compost, manure, and worm castings. Also using mulch to even out the moisture is a good idea. After all, you can’t control the outdoor environment. Remember healthy soil gives you healthy plants.
Also try to grow tomato plants that are as healthy as possible. We share a whole lot of information from start to finish. And if you still get a tomato blossom end rot problem, Rot-stop might help you.