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Jun 7, 2009 09:55 AM

Blossom-end rot - can I still turn this around?

Our San Marzanos are suffering from blossom-end rot. We've had only four fruit set so far, and every one of them has this problem. I've mulched and started watering only in the mornings in an attempt to stop this, but so far, it's had no effect. Googling around, the consensus seems to be that BER is tough to stop once it's started. Has anyone here been able to turn around a tomato plant with this problem? If so, what did you do? I'm starting to feel like there will be no San Marzanos this summer.

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  1. Actually, I think it's a situation that resolves itself when the temperatures stabilize themselves. Do occasional deep watering and be patient.

    Is it possible what you were reading was referring to the progress on individual tomatoes only ? That's the only way it makes sense to me.

    1. I heard that it has something to do with not having enough calcium. My father in law usually tosses some powdered milk into his fertilizer for this reason. I'm trying it this year (a couple of tablespoons per plant), but it is too early for us to tell if it will have any affect...

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      1. One detail I neglected to mention - these are in a container, not in the ground.

        1. get some dry milk powder and epsom salts and mix about a half a handful of each into a gallon of water to give to your plants. This will give them calcium and magnesium. I generally get BER on the first tomato off each bush in a season but it corrects itself after that. Good luck!

          1. >>Has anyone here been able to turn around a tomato plant with this problem? If so, what did you do?<<

            High-calcium lime sprinkled on the soil and worked in through your regular watering. Have done it with some success. (It won't reverse any BER that is already happening, but will stop it from happening on future fruits.) Have also used potash, which (I believe) corrects a nitrogen overabundance the soil -- that can also cause BER -- successfully.

            Info is from "The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control" by Ellis and Bradley. It's been a super-useful book over the years.