Tomato Blossom End Rot

June 15, 2006

I’ve received several questions from gardeners expressing concern over their home grown tomatoes that develop sunken brown spots or black rot on their bottoms which totally ruins the fruit.

The probable cause is a disease called Blossom End Rot which affects tomatoes, peppers, squash, and watermelons.

Cause and Symptoms of Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes

While there’s no way to save the individual tomatoes or other fruits that show signs of blossom end rot, overall it’s not a major concern for the organic gardener and the disease doesn’t spread or actually affect the plant itself. You’ll see more blossom end rot occurring on tomatoes early in the season with it appearing less frequently as the summer goes on.

8324 Tomato Blossom End Rot  Tomato Blossom End RotBlossom End Rot is caused by a calcium deficiency and there are organic products on the market that can be applied to vegetable plants to help reduce the incidence of rot striking tomatoes and other susceptible fruits. Because the problem is usually temporary and will resolve itself I don’t recommend treating the plants with any type of spray to combat blossom end rot.

Often the problem has more to do with the moisture levels in the garden to regulate the delivery of nutrients than the amount of calcium available in the soil, and tomato rot will be more noticeable after periods of uneven precipitation such as when drought conditions are followed by periods of heavy rain.

Organic Control and Prevention of Blossom End Rot

So a better way to combat blossom end rot is to ensure that your growing beds contain plenty of organic matter to help maintain even moisture levels and by watering your tomatoes as needed during periods of low precipitation.

Some gardeners claim that planting tomatoes out in the garden before the soil has thoroughly warmed up can promote the occurrence of blossom end rot. Don’t plant those heirloom tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplants, and watermelons out into the garden until the soil has had a chance to fully warm up.

Other precautions include avoiding cultivating too closely to the plants which may encourage blossom end rot by destroying the tiny feeder roots that grow close to the soil surface and supply moisture and nutrients to the plants.

Mulching the soil after temperatures rise will help to conserve the amount of moisture that is retained in the soil and prevent or lessen the amount of blossom end rot on your tomatoes and other vegetables.

For gardeners seeking a natural spray to control blossom end rot on tomatoes, peppers, and melons, “Garden’s Alive” sells a product called Rot-StopT Spray  Tomato Blossom End Rotthat can be applied to your plants once a week to supplement calcium reserves and prevent rotting.

So don’t panic or be overly concerned if you see your tomatoes suffering with signs of blossom end rot early in the season. Simply remove the affected fruits that display the sunken rotten bottoms, irrigate to maintain even moisture, and be patient… that’s usually the most effective organic control to handle this common problem in the vegetable garden.





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{ 71 comments… read them below or add one }

Shirley June 21, 2006 at 7:17 am

Hi

I wonder if you can help me. I am looking for a good quality organic feed for my tomatoes and can’t seem to find one anywhere.

Do you have any recommendations?

Best Wishes

Shirl

Kenny Point June 21, 2006 at 10:45 pm

Garden’s Alive carries an “all-natural” fertilizer called Tomato’s Alive that’s designed especially for plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. They identify it as all-natural rather than organic so you may want to verify the list of ingredients contained in this tomato fertilizer.

Tim June 22, 2006 at 12:59 pm

Thanks so much for posting the item about Blossom-End Rot. Before I got wise, I had this problem on my tomatoes and peppers, as well. I didn’t realize that the pH of the soil had a lot to do with it. Calcium deficiency—makes you wonder what rots inside of us when we have calcium deficiency!

My name is Tim, and my wife’s name is Sara. We have a small garden on one of the islands off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Sara is responsible for the flowers, while I handle the vegetables. We used to have all sorts of problems with our plants, until we discovered a wonderful company with a whole array of nutrient products, both organic and synthetic, each scientifically designed to ensure beautiful blooms and a robust vegetable harvest.

For the condition you mention, the best remedy is SensiCal Grow and Bloom, made by Advanced Nutrients. Not only does this product contain 6.88% Calcium and 1.2% Magnesium, but it also has minute amounts of a whole sleuth of micronutrients necessary for optimum plant growth.

Whereas other similar products on the market contain only Iron (Fe), in addition to the Ca and Mg, SensiCal guarantees the smooth uptake of all the required minerals, by adding Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Boron, Molybdenum, and Cobalt.

In the final analysis, even 100% organic nutrients are made up of chemical molecules. But if your preference is in that direction, I would recommend Mother Earth Blended Organic Super Tea, both Grow and Bloom. It is a complete organic fertilizer by itself, containing shrimp meal, fish meal, sea kelp, crab meal, canola meal, earthworm castings, and alfalfa extract. It is rich in mineral content.

I alternate between the above organic nutrient, and Iguana Juice, Grow and Bloom, for my vegetables. But one year I did use SensiCal in order to get rid of the calcium deficiency problem. I must confess our veggies tasted just as good that year, as when we’re using purely organics.

A greater problem on my tomatoes for the first few years of gardening were whiteflies. Then we started using Bug Away, a natural all organic product that comes with a guarantee. It worked really well for us. This year, some of Sara’s flowers got attacked by spider mites. Bug Away got rid of them really fast, without hurting the plants.

Sara replanted three rose bushes from containers into the ground earlier this year. We usually inoculate all our plants with Scorpion Juice against most pathogens, but somehow we missed spraying the roses. Black spot reared its ugly head after the transplanting and the roses looked sickly, even though they had many blooms. I sprayed early one morning, and in a few days the vitality returned to these beautiful flowers. Amazing results!

Please visit our blog and see some wonderful pictures of our flowers and vegetables, as well as our cat Pinta and our dog Max. We have two children, June and Jim, ten and eight respectively. I enjoyed visiting your blog and wish you all the best with your garden.

What do you do in the scorching heat of summer? Are there any watering restrictions where you live? We live on an island and there is always a water shortage. I guess we’ll have to invest in a truckload of mulch to make sure our soil keeps its moisture. Good advice!

jeff c February 4, 2007 at 8:02 am

all this information on bloosm end rot is great but i’m considering use a mixture of epsom salts and gypsum and compost for each transplant. i read about it some where. any thought or idea

Kenny Point February 4, 2007 at 10:56 pm

Jeff, I don’t have any experience with using epsom salts and gypsum to treat tomato blossom end rot. Maybe someone else that is familiar with that technique will comment.

Jacqueline June 12, 2007 at 11:46 pm

Kenny HELP!!! My tomato garden has beautiful big fruit in it… I have just discovered (thanks to u!!) that we have end rot… but what also concerns me is that the tomatoes that look healthy are not turning red… I have some tomatoes that are bigger than my husbands fist and they have been green for weeks… Five days ago we picked some of the larger ones & left them on the picnic table, still as green as they were when we picked them… Can u please help me?? we r thinking about repotting them (as they are already in large pots) but i am worried about “shocking” them since some of then are over 5ft.. I hope to hear from u soon… Jacqueline in Mississippi

Kenny Point June 13, 2007 at 6:54 am

Hi Jacqueline, I would not try to repot the tomato plants, at that size there is too much that could go wrong. Also, water the tomato plants evenly and let the fruits remain on the vines until they are ripe. If harvested too early the tomatoes will never turn red. They should begin ripening a lot faster as we get further into the summer.

daisy June 20, 2007 at 1:29 am

This is not a tomato question. Rather a squash question. As a new vegetable gardener I was delighted to see my zucchini plants get these huge beautful leaves and blossoms. But now I have rotting zucchini on the ends. Is that too a calcium deficiency? As I say the plants are spectaucular but……

Kenny Point June 21, 2007 at 3:29 pm

Daisy, sounds like brown rot to me. Remove the affected fruits, water the plants evenly, watch out for squash bugs, and the plants should do fine and produce plenty of good zucchini as the season progresses.

Sharon June 21, 2007 at 3:58 pm

Thanks for the info on blossom end rot in tomatoes. I will try your suggestions. I have a slow release fertilizer in the soil, but we have had some dry weather lately, and we have not been able to keep the garden watered evenly. (Our garden is at a weekend property.) I am going to add some mulch and see about setting up soaker hoses so that we can give them a deep watering each weekend.

sandra June 22, 2007 at 8:40 pm

Hi, I am having a problem with the flowers falling off. The plants are very healthy and some tomatoes are forming but now the flowers just fall off the plants. What am I doing wrong?

Kenny Point June 22, 2007 at 9:15 pm

Hi Sandra, take a look at the post about Fruit Set and Flowers Dropping for some ideas that may help with your tomatoes that are losing their flowers.

Juana July 5, 2007 at 10:11 am

I combat blossom end rot by using side-dressings of crushed eggshells (long-term fix) and bone meal (short-term fix).

Damon July 16, 2007 at 10:22 am

I have tomatoes in large pots and I have blossoem end rot. Our weather has been in the 90′s and near 100 for the past few weeks and I water the plants every morning and soak them real good….is that too much water? how do I know how much water they need as by the end of the day, the soil is dry. Help!

Kenny Point July 16, 2007 at 11:29 am

Damon, that doesn’t sound like too much water for tomato plants that are growing in containers. With the weather as hot as it is you could even water them a couple of times per day as long as the containers have good drainage to allow any excess water to drain off.

Kahealani Love July 17, 2007 at 6:01 pm

I live in an apartment, so I have grow my veggies in containers. I grew veggies every year for five years except for last year due to frustration and disapointment. In the years befor last year I had to water 3 times a day, to try and combat blossom end rot and try to keep even moisture in my planters. Even with that I still lost at least a third of my crop. I almost didn’t plant this year because it was too time consuming and too frustrating for me, but my husband said “if u don’t plant this year, then I’m gointo”, because he didn’t want to go another year without fresh veggies. Being that he’s never had anything to do with my garden in the past (with the exception of enjoying the harvest) I wasn’t about to leave it to him.
Before planting anything I did a little research and found this page, “what a life saver” this site has been.
Thanks to Kenny’s advice about adding plenty of organic matter to my planters,I have forty tomato plants, all in containers and planters and not one fruit with blossom end rot and even here in the high desert of Reno, NV I’m only watering once a day in 100 degree weather, rather than three times a day like I had to in previous years.
Thanks Kenny for the awesome advice!
Kahea – Reno, NV

Kenny Point July 17, 2007 at 6:57 pm

Hi Kahealani, you are very welcome, thanks for visiting this site and for sharing your experiences with blossom end rot and growing tomatoes in containers. I’m glad that I could be of assistance!

Damon August 14, 2007 at 10:07 am

My tomatoes, growing in pots, are cracking at the top of the fruit where the stem connects to the fruit….what is causing this and how can I prevent it? Thanks for all your help.

Kenny Point August 14, 2007 at 6:43 pm

The cracking is usually due to uneven watering or dry conditions followed by periods of heavy precipitation. Try watering the tomatoes on a regular basis without allowing the soil to completely dry out and see if that helps relieve the cracking on your tomato fruits.

bhoge April 9, 2008 at 10:16 am

Is bone meal good for ca+?

mark July 16, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Is grass clippings a good mulch for your garden?

Kenny Point July 16, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Hi Mark, grass clippings are okay to use as a mulch but I don’t care much for them as a garden mulch because they tend to become too matted and can also generate a lot of heat if applied when they are freshly cut. I prefer to compost the grass clippings and then use the finished compost as mulch.

mark July 22, 2008 at 3:21 pm

how about squirrel problems i have chicken wire buried a foot in the ground .around the garden i have a picket fence which is butted up to my shed help me there eating my tamatos ?

Nancy July 24, 2008 at 4:37 am

For your squirrel problem…try moth balls scattered around the garden…you dont want to ingest the chemicals, but you can use them sparingly around the garden and the smell is offensive to all the animals…squirrels in particular.

rose rubio July 25, 2008 at 11:29 am

Help, I have a raised bed garden, my tomatoes are doing great however once the tomatoes start to ripen some animal is snatching it… the next day it is gone! The garden is gated… not sure what is eating them. Rose

Tom Polonus July 27, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Kenny,

Thanks for publishing the article on end rot…it was very informative.

We are located in Evanston, Il and have a couple of heirlooms in Earthboxes on our condo patio. They have grown beyond our expectations, but the earliest fruit has end rot. We did have a very wet, cool spring…all the way through the end of June. The good news is that the emerging fruit seems to be fine!

A couple of questions for you – Is there an easy way to measure the calcium level of the soil? Is there a recommended calcium level?

Thanks again for the enlightening article.

Tom and Betty

mark July 29, 2008 at 7:17 pm

ok moth ball are not working squirrels are mocking me and throwing my tamatos at me . what do you have for me to help.

Kenny Point August 1, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Hi Tom, I wouldn’t worry too much about those early fruits that show signs of blossom end rot. The easiest way to measure the calcium levels would be to have a soil test performed. Many of the labs will offer suggestions to correct any deficiencies and provide a range for normal levels of all the nutrients that are tested. Good luck with your heirloom tomatoes.

Steve Corwin August 16, 2008 at 6:14 pm

If we cut off the end of the tomato that is affected, is the rest of the fruit edible.

Kenny Point August 17, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Steve, I don’t know how edible blossom end rotted tomatoes are, but I just don’t bother with them. Blossom rot often affects the ripening of the fruits and there usually isn’t much in the way of usable tomato flesh on the diseased fruits anyway.

reghan February 16, 2009 at 2:04 am

Hi Steve, My tomatoes appear to have blossom end rot, they have all the same symptoms and the pictures I can find all match. However, my soil is very high in calcium as it has had large quantities of lime over the past 5 years. Also, the PH is 7.5 rather than 6.5. I’ve read that blossom end rot is caused by too little calcium, but could too much calcium also cause this problem? Thanks

brett June 23, 2009 at 11:24 am

Help, my tomato plant in a topsy turvey is losing it’s yellow blossoms. what can I do

Danni Piglowski July 1, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Yes thank you about posting regarding blossom rot. I do have this problem with a twist: I am growing tomatoes in the topsy turvey tomato growers and I am getting the ends of the tomatoes rotting. I’m trying this growing method for the first time & am undecided if I will do it again next year. I have lots of tomatoes (green with rot) on one plant (my early girl tomatoes). The directions for the topsy turvey is to plant two plants in one container and then add the soil. We used Miracle Grow organic soil and I “feed” the tomatoes once a week with miracle grow tomato plant food. I water the plants once a day about a gallon or more for each container (I have two containers with a total of 4 plants). Some tomatoes do get red but majority are green with the rot. The egg shell idea sounds good. Should I add egg shells to the soil in these containers? I’m at a loss on what to do. Lots of money and time have been put into these plants with bad results. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Danni

Kenny Point July 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Hi Danni, sure you can add the egg shells to the soil that the tomatoes are growing in. I wouldn’t worry too much about the blossom end rot at this stage as the condition usually improves as the season goes on and the tomato plants continue to grow and produce new fruits. Good luck and let us know how your topsy turvey containers work out.

Mare July 12, 2009 at 1:58 pm

Hi: Thanks for all the tips on Blossom end rot. Will try some. No one here in Albuquerque seems to know anything about the matter. Mare

Tammy May 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Hi~This may be a stupid question but can you crush a calcium tablet (vitamin) and add it to the water reservoir of a container (like an earth box) plant? I just crushed egg shells but am unsure as to how long it will take for nutrients in the shells to dissolve into the soil… Thanks

Kenny Point May 25, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Hi Tammy, not a stupid question… that may be a quick fix (how do you know you need more calcium?), but is more along the lines of conventional agriculture that addresses the short term problems with inorganic chemicals rather than figuring out the underlying causes and dealing with those.

Tammy May 31, 2010 at 1:26 am

Hey Kenny~ I am just assuming I need more calcium as the moisture is pretty constant. I fill the water reservoir (container gardening) when it gets low, never empty. Also, I think I planted the tomato plants deeper than I did last year. Which means they have access to less soil, and more water (through the holes in the bottom). These plants are huge already, so digging them up to replant is not possible. The shock would kill them for sure. Last year, I followed the soil ratio that was recommended in the gardening book to the letter. This year, I dumped different things into a big plastic bin, hoping they were the right ratios. (organic soil, perlite and the third item I can’t recall at the moment). I think I might have added coffee grounds the soil as well. Thought they might like a little pick me up. Not very scientific, just threw it in. I was so happy it was spring, I didn’t feel like “wasting time” measuring. Next year, I plan on being a little more cautious. I added egg shells the night I post the above comment, but I didn’t know how long it would take for them to break down into the soil or if the roots would even be able to access the calcium due to the deep planting in the container. So, I thought if I added calcium straight to the water source, it might give them an emergency infusion. That being said, I have been keeping an eye on the plants since I wrote and it seems that the Tomato Blossom Rot may have ended… Not entirely sure, but so far so good. I am still curious as to whether or not a vitamin will harm the plant. I wouldn’t imagine it would, but you never know. I also read that if you mix in Epsom Salts, it will give the plant calcium but, I did not try that…

Kenny Point May 31, 2010 at 8:00 am

Hi Tammy, I didn’t even notice that you were responding to tomatoes and blossom end rot. I agree that the eggshells will result in a slower release of nutrients for your tomato plants. You could try the calcium supplement I’m just not sure what the appropriate strength would be or how concentrated the tablet would be. You may be able to find a liquid calcium or one of the blossom end rot products that contain calcium and can be sprayed directly onto the plant’s leaves. That’s great that your rot seems to be clearing up, I usually just remove any affected fruits and the problem generally resolves itself in a short time. Good luck.

Rick July 6, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Some of my tomatoes have blossom end rot and I have sprayed for that…but, now I am seeing what I think is blight! Is it okay to spray for both issues in the same week?

Sherri July 9, 2010 at 5:25 pm

My container tomato plant has done fairly well, but I think I have blossom end rot again…..I had it at the early part of the summer so I added some lime and tomato fertilizer. It seemed to go away at that point and I got some pretty good tomatoes. Now it’s back. I think I may not be getting enough water to it because we’ve had such a hot summer and the plant is on my deck. The stems are turning yellow and drying up as well as the little green tomatoes are turning brownish-black on the bottom. What do you think? Is it okay to fertilize everyday in this heat?

jay the furmanator July 13, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Have encountered end rot every year. Calcium deficiency or uneven watering… I cultivated my beds and added Miracle grow to affected plants… to be continued.
This year I planted a bunch of cherry tomatoes and fewer Bad Boys… less problems thus far.
All my little children are planted in 5 Gallon plastic buckets… been hot, raining off and on in South Wisconsin… Now July 13, picked a cherry tomato today… how sweet it is….
also have Chives in a pot. They do not stop, growing a breeze, do not make you sneeze, only just waver in the breeze… herbs complete the circle… Happy harvest to all, and to all no more blight… arghh!

Jeanne July 13, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Thanks for the great info on the blossom end rot…my tomatoes seem to have it. I was quite shocked the first time I saw this, since I never had it before. Considering all the comments, I guess I’m not alone. I, too, have one of those topsy turvey hangers, as well as containers with tomatoes.

Serena July 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Thank you for your useful website. I found your information easy to understand and helpful. I just diagnosed my tomatoes with blossom end rot and tested my ph – too high. So, I’m off to get some lime and keep an eye on my watering. Thanks for the tips!

Jeanne July 20, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Well, I’m happy to report that my tomatoes have seemed to recover from this blossom end rot. I picked off the affected fruit and have been making sure to keep my tomatoes watered, fed and now all the fruit is clean. Here’s looking forward to my future blt’s… Hope you all have good luck as well.

Kelly July 23, 2010 at 12:39 pm

This is an incredibly informative post. Thanks for sharing. You know you’ve hit on great post when four years after it was written it’s still generating chatter. Not sure how often you check the comments on this post but I did have a couple of follow up questions:

1. Is there any harm in leaving the effected fruit? I only ask because I’m still finding 2/3 of the rotten tomatoes are still edible and delicious and if there is no harm in leaving them on the plant I’d rather they ripen and salvage what I can.

2. A lot of these tips seem preventative. That’ll be great for next year, but what about after the fact? Anyone have any tips. I’m container gardening this year and although it’s been incredibly hot and dry & humid in Chicago this year I try to compensate by watering twice a day. Is over watering ever an issue or poor drainage? I will admit that although I use a moisture control potting mix I didn’t drill holes in the bottom of my planters. Could that be to blame. :-( At least feel reassured that I am not alone but want to know what I can do to salvage my plants.

3. I know you mention this is a common problem early in the season. It’s now the end of July, at what point should I be more concerned. I have 1 plant that is not affected at all, 1 that is mostly okay with just a couple of pieces of fruit affected, and a third where every piece of fruit seems to be affected. :-(

Kevin July 23, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Thanks man! You have a great site with lots of valuable information. Glad I found this post because I was about to pull up one of my tomato plants which has blossom end rot. I always have in the past. This year I have stem side rings/cracks and 1 plant with blossom end rot. I guess I need to reevaluate my watering schedule and technique.

Kenny Point July 24, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Hi Kelly, there is probably no harm in leaving the affected fruit but I like to remove them so the plants attention is focused on growing and ripening the unblemished fruits. Sounds like the poor drainage could contribute to your problems and I would be sure to allow for drainage holes next time. Good luck!

Mike F. July 26, 2010 at 9:16 am

Spraying 2% milk on the plants seems to work for this problem. I dilute the milk (powdered will work) to 50% and both water the roots and spray the leaves. The calcium in the milk is absorbed and seems to have cured my former end rot problem.

Jeanne July 26, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Hey Mike, thanks for the tip. So far so good on my tomatoes and I’m hoping to have that sandwich real soon… The people on this site have been more than helpful.

Ken August 1, 2010 at 8:04 pm

My daughter gave me a deck pot, cage and tomato plant for Father’s Day. The pot has good drainage. She put in potting soil, moisure control and Miracle Grow. We have had both very dry weather and lots of rain. I kept the soil wet when dry. Have the end rot on all first tomatoes. She said to use Tums for the rot. Lastest fruits seem better but now all the new flowers are rotting off and the lower leaves yellowing.

Saddened to see all her expenses and work go down the drain.

daniel allen August 16, 2010 at 6:10 pm

It seems that my tomatoes (which are not planted in the ground but in a 5 gallon bucket) have the signs for blossom end rot. The only thing that has me stumped on whether or not it is blossom end rot, is the fact that there is a green “fungus or fecal matter” on the tomatoes that turns brown. The “fungus” looks like its small pieces of an ear of corn. If anyone has any advise or input I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks

calvin September 21, 2010 at 9:07 pm

my plants blossom with flowers but NO fruit comes from the blooms. Please advise me what is wrong with the plants, are they male plants or what.

Kenny Point September 23, 2010 at 8:30 am

Hi Calvin, I’m not sure what would be preventing your tomatoes from developing fruits. Sometimes that can occur with the early blossoms but it should not continue into the season. High temperatures can also stress some plants and cause them to delay fruiting. It’s definitely not an issue with the tomatoes being “male” plants and I’ve never had an issue with tomatoes not pollinating… with the exception of tomatillos.

cozycall February 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I plant about 30 tomato plants every spring, about half of them will be old stand-by varieties that are favorites. The rest will be new ones that I have never grown before. Blossom end rot has always been a problem to some extent. But learning how to irregate properly and maintaining even moisture has all but eliminated the problem. Except for one variety “Big Mamma” a paste type tomato. Of all the varieties this one always gets BER. every year so bad that it sometimes effects virtually every tomato on the plant, I have never had any success using any of the liquid calcium spray-on cures, last year I mixed a double handful of crushed egg shells in the planting hole of one plant, and had great success. Two other plants got no egg shells and every tomato they set got BER. I know one year does not prove anything, but its the first time 10 years I had a healthy plant that produced exceptionally well. Now I want to apply calcium to my entire garden and would like to know more about the gypsum treatment, since finding enough egg shells would not be a option for me. I believe gypsum is the main component in dry wall, like sheet-rock. Dry wall scraps are abundant where I live. But I would prefer a bagged product if possible and if anyone has had any experience using the gypsum I would like to hear from you. I also wonder if the bagged calcium used to add to ready-mix concrete would work its reasonably priced, Thanks.

Kenny Point March 6, 2011 at 11:54 am

I have heard of apple growers using drywall scraps as a nutrient source for fruit trees but I’m not familiar with the use or effectiveness of the bagged calcium from concrete mixes.

Darby May 17, 2011 at 7:57 pm

I have been gardening for a couple of years now. I finally broke down and purchased one of those Topsy Turvy things. I have had good luck with it, but I noticed that my tomatoes were getting Blossom End Rot. I have grown tomatoes in pots, ground, buckets, etc and have never had BER before. Would it be the container? Or maybe since I can’t really judge how much water is going into the Topsy Turvy, maybe that is causing the problem??
PLEASE help!!
Thank you.

Kenny Point May 22, 2011 at 7:27 am

Hi Darby, uneven watering could be contributing to your end rot problem. I have never used the Topsy Turvy containers so I have no idea about how to water them. Blossom End Rot usually improves as the season goes on so hopefully you will see less of it as the summer continues.

Jen June 6, 2011 at 7:07 pm

My first crop of tomatoes (1 mortgage lifter, 2 brandywine & 1 black krim) have all had BER. I gave them some lime about a week ago & the new fruits so far seem unaffected. I am confused, though, about uneven watering. My tomatoes are in raised beds because we live near the coast & have a high water table. We are currently experiencing a drought.

Last year, I watered every other day & the BER problem never got better. This year, I’ve been watering every day. I have a light mulch of bermuda straw around my plants, but they still seem to dry out between watering. Is that my problem? Maybe I should water at night as well? But if all they need is an inch a week, they’ve probably been getting too much water. Ideally, how should that inch be distributed across the week?

I have plenty of cherry & paste tomatoes that are thriving, but my big ones need extra care, apparently. Thanks for your help!

amanda June 27, 2011 at 11:43 pm

I am in Phoenix and had end rot for years – gave up on tomatoes. I wasn’t going to plant them this year, but my mom gave me 6 of her leftovers. I am certain the problem results from many of the issues with gardening in my soil (great that it is for so many plants – peas, lettuce, spinach, peppers, herbs, and i could go on an on), but it has some downfalls – lots of caliche, etc). This year after my mom gave me the tomatoes and I told her I had given up on them, she told me to put two calcium tablets next to each plant. OK, I am not sure if that was the solution or if it was just that we had finally gotten the right amendments, but I have a bzilliion beautiful tomatoes with no end rot. take what you want from it. They are really tasty!

John July 6, 2011 at 7:53 am

Kenny…just want to thank you for the great information you have here and taking time to answer so many questions. I have learned much here and will continue to review your information…
We live at 6700 ft and growing tomato plants is a challenge…this info about end rot is most helpful…thanks again!!!!

Dawn July 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Hello and thank you! I just posted pictures of mine with the blossom end rot, I found your blog while searching about blossom end rot. I have a few plants, I noticed that the tomato plants that I have in the yard are doing great and all tomatoes growing look great. I have a tomato plant in a 5 gallon bucket and the plant is beautiful but the tomatoes have been getting the rot. I am thinking it is from the watering. I have holes in the bottom of the bucket but it has been crazy weather here. We went from a week of cooler then normal with a lot of rain to extreme hot and dry. This is great info, thank you again!

sonya August 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm

I have a question my tomatoes look like they have end rot, but the stems also have lessions or something that looks like the picture I saw of tomatoes with Dicamba. Is it both or does end rot cause that as well? If so how do I treat the plant, is it salvageable? It is also in a topsy turvy planter, does that matter??? What can I do if anything?

Karen August 12, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Hi. Thanks for the info. I have two identical raised beds, one with 7 Amish Paste plants and the other with San Marzanos. The Amish paste are showing signs of blossom end rot. My question is Is too much nitrogen in the soil and contributor to blossom end rot? Does is make calcium less available? I have eighteen hens who favored these boxes over the winter. Thank you. Karen.

Laura August 23, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Hi,

My tomatoes have been in a planter all season, I have 3 planters with 3 different varieties. Two of my planters are doing well and I have had no problems with any of the tomatoes, my third one, EVERY SINGLE tomato has developed rot. I water them about 1x per day unless it rains (I am in Vancouver and the temperature has not been that hot this summer). At this point, I pulled off ALL of the rotting tomatoes but am not sure I will actually have any ripen properly. Each tomato plant (and a cucumber plant!) were planted using the same mixture of soil and something else (whatever was recommended) and they all received the slow release fertilizer sticks. I am not sure why this one plant is not working out… Any ideas???
Thanks

Kenny Point August 24, 2011 at 8:01 am

Hi Laura, it could be that that particular tomato variety is not suited to growing in your climate. Doesn’t sound like you are doing anything wrong and the other tomatoes are productive so I would just not plant that one variety again.

Anthony August 27, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I found that watering tomatos using softened water (from a water softener) will cause blossom end rot. Softeners remove calcium. After years and years of having the blossom end rot problem, I started bypassing the water from the softener, and Eureka, it worked. Best crop ever.

Nightowl2548 July 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I’ve got this on my yellow tomato plant in a potted container. The plants are on a porch by my apartment and I’m afraid this horrible week of 100+ temperatures are roasting them. The yellow tomato plant is much larger than the rest and seems worst affected. It is so large it sucks the pot dry every day in this heat wave and is wilted every day when I come home from work. I have to soak them down twice a day but unfortunately the tap water in central Illinois is 9+ PH and I am afraid the PH is getting way out of balance and preventing Calcium uptake. Besides PH issues and the extreme drying out of the plants every afternoon in this heat, I also might have been overdoing it with nitrogen fertilizer. Darn it, but my hot peppers seem to be fine, my smaller red tomato plant seems OK as well, just the yellow variety that I picked all the blossoms off in May to keep from fruiting too soon and the plant got HUGE.

Perry July 11, 2012 at 10:59 am

I am using three “growboxes” and keep them filled with water as
Per the instructions. I hve bottom rot on almost every tomato in two of the boxes even tiny tomatos have a spot on the bottom. What do I need to do?

Sarah July 17, 2012 at 10:16 am

I am having the same problem with tomatoes in earth boxes, so I decided to water less and see if that helps. I noticed that if I kept the reservoir full like the instructions said, the soil never dries out. Maybe that could be the cause. I’ve had bottom rot in tomatoes planted in the garden too, usually happened when there was a lot of rain and/or temps were too cool.

perry July 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm

I have three growboxes. Had end rot in each of these. Mixed epsom salts with water and sprayed the plants. Also added the mix to the water in the planter a couple times. This cured the problem for me
We have had extremely hot weather here in Georgia so the boxes take lots of watering to keep them filled.
Next year I plan to make an automatic watering system by setting the boxes on a raised level platform and piping them together at the bottom
and connecting them up to a five gallon bucket with a filler valve like used in a toilet tank connected to a water hose’ By mounting the bucket so the water level is the same as the gro boxes The boxes should stay full without me watering them each day. I can also add anything I need to the water in the bucket.

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