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Genny
July 8th, 2012, 11:47 AM
Went outside this morning to water the birds, squirrels and of course the flowers. What a difference in the temperature! There is a beautiful breeze blowing and at 74 degrees it felt so wonderful! Its still supposed to get to 90 today but hopefully it'll be better then the 104 it got to yesterday.

Still no rain and our grass has now turned to straw. Even watering my flowers and tomatoes daily they're not looking too good. Our tomatoes are ripening but half the tomatoe on the bottom is black and so far I've had to throw them all away. Does anyone know what to do about this? Is there anything I can add to the soil? Wish my dad was here...he'd know what to do....

madampolo
July 8th, 2012, 11:57 AM
I think the black bottom on the tomato is called Blossom End Rot. I had it, too. I believe it is because the soil lacks calcium. You might want to look it up. I know there is a spray you can use, or add it to the soil. It may be too late for this year's crop. My crop is already all gone. The heat is too bad here.

Sandy Navas
July 8th, 2012, 01:30 PM
ANNOUNCEMENT: THIS RESPONSE IS STOLEN FROM THE INTERNET SO IT MUST BE TRUE!

Your tomatoes are experiencing a condition called blossom-end rot. Blossom-end rot is caused by either a lack of calcium in the soil or the plant's inability to draw calcium from the soil due to stress. It can also be caused by inconsistent watering, which is very common when growing in containers. The tomatoes are still edible as long as the BER did not spread above the top half of the tomatoes.

During drier conditions, the plants have a more difficult time absorbing nutrients. Since calcium is normally low in content in most home gardens, the first few tomatoes will experience this problem. The good news is that it does not spread to other tomatoes and will normally correct itself after a few weeks. Even better news is that you can prevent the problem by using corrective measures in early spring.

Epsom salts, composed primarily of magnesium sulfate, has been proven to help prevent blossom-end rot. Simply mix one or two tablespoons of epsom salts to the soil when planting. Once the plant begins flowering, apply 1 tbs. epsom salts to one gallon of water and spray liberally on the plants. Then mulch the plants with 3" of straw or dried grass clippings to help retain moisture and keep down weeds. This should be sufficient enough to prevent this problem in the future.

One other trick for established tomatoes is to crush a few Tums and carefully work them into the soil around the plants. Tums contain calcium and will sometimes serve as a quick solution to BER.

In regards to watering, I recommend watering once every three days if you are receiving average rainfall. Adjust accordingly if the rainfall varies. The general rule of thumb is to water to a depth of 1.5" per week for most plants. Also, never water at night since this can result in fungus diseases. And mulch heavily to retain moisture.

Finally, do not over fertilize. Water-soluble fertilizers should never be applied more than once every two weeks. They are extremely high in nitrogen, which will result in the plant expending all of its energy into producing lush foliage at the expense of blossoming and healthy fruit.

Tomatoes, like all fruit-bearing plants, require a higher concentration of phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen. There are fertilizer products on the market manufactured specifically for tomatoes.

I personally do not fertilize my tomatoes with synthetic fertilizers. Instead, I amend my soil every spring by adding ample quantities of compost, shredded leaves, aged manure, and peat moss. These organic supplements increase the fertility of the soil and provide a steady supply of nutrients to the plants throughout the growing season, and they help to balance the pH to neutral levels. They also help prevent disease and pest problems by improving the overall health of the plants. When I notice they could use a boost in mid-summer, I apply either fish emulsion or sea kelp as a supplemental feeding.

SuzyQue
July 9th, 2012, 12:31 AM
See!!! Another awesome member helping out...answering a question! AWESOME!!

bec
July 9th, 2012, 01:53 AM
Sandy pulled an excellent article about growing tomatoes. We sometimes have the blossom end rot. My husband starting putting epsom salts around his tomatoes and we don't seem to have as much problem with it now. We also mulch our whole garden with shredded leaves that we save from the fall before. The leaves help keep the moisture in the soil, keeps weeds down, and provides nutrients for the soil because you till them under each year.

Genny
July 9th, 2012, 02:16 AM
Thanks everyone! I'm going after some epsom salts tomorrow, maybe it'll still help them.