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Black Bottom Tomatos

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2006
by Gerry the one and only on March 01, 2006 02:52 AM
I'm a complete novice to growing... and desperately need help.

I have 3 beautiful tomato plants I started indoors in November (San Diego's always warm). No idea what variety, "Flower Pot Tomotos" from Walmart.

My problem is that for every 1 tomato I get ripened, I've lost 7 others because they start turning black from the bottom of the fruit up. The don't get mushy but stay firm and eventually start to cave in a bit on the bottoms.

I have no visable pests. Had Iris Aphids but got rid of them easily.

Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

Would appreciate advice.
[dunno]

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Gerry
by tkhooper on March 01, 2006 02:59 AM
yeppers it's a watering problem most of the time. They need regular watering but not to be kept moist. Getting the perfect amount is difficult for me too. My landlord does much better with tomatoes and he lets them dry out some between watering.

Good luck with your tomatoes.

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by weezie13 on March 01, 2006 03:05 AM
How's your watering practices???

Also, if you do a FORUM SEARCH and type in Blossom End Rot and click on the FRUITS AND VEGETABLE SECTION..
You'll come up with several posts on that subject..

Come back after reading, and let us know your watering practices,
How many times,
and at what time,
amounts you water,

The type of container it's in
and what kind of soil and fertilizers too!!!

That will help a great deal for us...

And Welcome to The Garden Helper's Forum by the way, we're glad you found us..
And don't forget to take a peak around.. there's lot's to do and keep you busy...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by maja24 on March 01, 2006 03:22 AM
Couldn't it be phytoftera? As it is related to the potato? In warm, humid conditions the virus (or bacteria??) can grow and mutiply very fast!

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http://home.hetnet.nl/~pvandeburgt/
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by Gerry the one and only on March 01, 2006 03:39 AM
Thanks for all the help. I know as much about plants as I do brain surgery.

Okay, I've searched and read up on the blossom butt rot thingie... My watering is very regular. The soil is just dampened enough at the surface that it doesn't blow away as dust. So I assume it's more moist down below. The trays do not have any drained water in them.

I will water 1 plant more, 1 plant less and leave 1 as is to see what works best.

Thanks for the speedy and very helpful advice.

P.S. Don't be surprised if I'm not back here with other stupid questions. I'm starting with bell peppers next. [Confused]

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Gerry
by johnCT on March 01, 2006 03:39 AM
Definitely BER and most often caused by poor watering practices and occasionally from a calcium deficiency.

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John - Zone 6
by weezie13 on March 01, 2006 03:42 AM
quote:
P.S. Don't be surprised if I'm not back here with other stupid questions. I'm starting with bell peppers next.
We LOVE questions, and the only one's that are stoopid, are the ones NOT ASKED!!
Do not hesitate to ask, you'll always get a reply,
they may not be speedy as the first one, but you'll get you'll always get one...

And we have a bunch of guys here that grow peppers too, so not to worry!!!! [thumb]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by weezie13 on March 01, 2006 03:51 AM
quote:
Originally posted by johnCT:
Definitely BER and most often caused by poor watering practices and occasionally from a calcium deficiency.
Yes, on one of those previous posts, theres
some info on using Epsom Salts for that for it too [thumb] ..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by johnCT on March 01, 2006 04:16 AM
quote:
Originally posted by weezie13:
Yes, on one of those previous posts, theres
some info on using Epsom Salts for that for it too [thumb] ..

Yep, I've read of many an oldtime tomato grower that plants their transplants with a spoonful of epsom salts in the hole. [thumb] Or you can use limestone.

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John - Zone 6
by DeepCreekLake on March 01, 2006 04:28 AM
Sounds like Blossom End Rot... a few ways to go about it, one is to buy a spray (made by Bonide I believe). Its usally caused by calcium deffientcy. An old farmer trick is to mix crushed egg shells into the soil, as they are mostly calcium!
by comfrey on March 01, 2006 04:52 AM
quote:
Originally posted by johnCT:
quote:
Originally posted by weezie13:
Yes, on one of those previous posts, theres
some info on using Epsom Salts for that for it too [thumb] ..

Yep, I've read of many an oldtime tomato grower that plants their transplants with a spoonful of epsom salts in the hole. [thumb] Or you can use limestone.

Does this really work to put a spoonful in the hole when planting??? If so even though I have not had this problem a friend does every year and I might advise them to do this.

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by weezie13 on March 01, 2006 06:33 AM
Here's some info on Epsom Salt

Make sure you click on the 3 things on the left..
Garden Benefits
Why It Works
Garden Usage Tips

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by weezie13 on March 01, 2006 07:18 AM
quote:
An old farmer trick is to mix crushed egg shells into the soil, as they are mostly calcium!
The only one thing I've heard, is yes, that is a good thing, but it's slow..
*and if you have the problem that season, it's best to go with a foliar spray and then scratch some into the drip line of the plant..

Then, it for future season's, it's a great way, to do a few things for your soil..
Puts the calcium in the soil and breaks up the soil if it's clay or other...
I mix it into my compost pile, and when I sift my compost, you can see little pieces of the egg shells all over the place..

I have alot of problems with the septoria wilt,
but BER I don't have.. [thumb] [thumb]

But it's been several years I've been composting and that stuff is great for my soil..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by comfrey on March 01, 2006 07:38 AM
Ok...well I guess I will seperate the egg shells now, from not putting them in the compost pile, but instead save them to crush for the garden, I knew they did something...I didn't pay attention when "My Mom" was giving that lesson about why she had egg shells in her flower bed. [Big Grin] [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

I have my own chickens and I know if I save the shells and crush them up and give them back to the chickens, it is a source of calcuim for them... [Embarrassed]

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by weezie13 on March 01, 2006 07:42 AM
Comfrey, I do both..
Save some in a zip lock and crush them to put
around my hosta's and even my marigolds and mountain bluets, but I also put it in my compost..
Cause when it all gets rendered down, the shells crush up when I sift it and when I spread it on the beds, or mix it in the planting hole or mix up my potting soils, they are right in there as well..
And gosh, if you have your own chickens, you should have enough for both.. [thumb] [thumb]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by comfrey on March 01, 2006 08:16 AM
Well just getting somebody to eat them is the problem...I have 12 dozen eggs in the fridge right now...I have given them to everyone we know...Can yolk and all go into the pile [Big Grin] [Big Grin] [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

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by weezie13 on March 01, 2006 08:20 AM
I do..

But I am not gospel on it...

Mine turns over so quickly that mine don't
draw any critters to it..soooooo not 100% sure..
But still do add them..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by johnCT on March 01, 2006 08:40 PM
Egg shells break down very slowly, but yes they are a good source of calcium. You could also break up a few Tums or Rolaids tablets. They are made of calcium carbonate and will break down to a useable form of calcium much faster than eggshells. The best thing to use is dolomitic limestone(Only if your soil's pH is on the low side). Very cheap. Comes in 40 lb bags in pelletized form for $3-4. This will supply calcium AND magnesium. Two of the most important micro-nutrients in the soil. [thumb]

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John - Zone 6
by tkhooper on March 01, 2006 11:05 PM
Thank you all for reminding me about the epsom salt. I had totally forgotten.

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by peppereater on March 02, 2006 12:20 AM
I have always heard that adding gypsum was best...that, or the eggshells. Gypsum is calcium sulphate, calcium and sulphur, so it won't make the soil too alkaline. I would think that the spray DeepCreek mentioned would be the best quick fix, though.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by papito on March 02, 2006 12:08 PM
Info on foliar spray for BER:

quote:
* Foliar sprays can be used to help prevent the problem on young developing fruit before signs of blossom end rot occurs. Calcium chloride is suggested only for tomatoes. Calcium chloride sprays (see below), beginning prior to the first cluster of fruit appearing, can be used to supply calcium to the plant. Calcium nitrate can also be used as a spray treatment. Calcium chloride may burn the plant if sprayed during the hotter part of the day. Do not spray plants under stress conditions. Soil-applied treatments and prevention by cultural practices are generally preferred over sprays.

Spray with calcium chloride at the rate of 4 level tablespoons of calcium chloride per gallon of water (or 4 pounds per 100 gallons of water). Apply sprays every 7 to 10 days until 3 or 4 applications have been made. Application should be done while temperatures are cool in the morning If blossom-end rot appears on the first cluster, begin spraying immediately. Spray to the point of run-off. Chelated calcium solutions also provide an excellent source of calcium. When using these chelates, follow label directions. Several foliar spray materials containing calcium are available, and all work well for tomatoes.

Remember, controlling blossom-end rot is based on proper calcium nutrition of the crop and optimum irrigation scheduling.

Source Rate to Apply
95% (USP Grade) Calcium Chloride 4 tablespoons per gallon of water or 4 lbs per 100 gallons of water
78% (USP Grade) Calcium Chloride 5 tablespoons per gallon of water or 5 lbs per 100 gallons of water
Calcium nitrate 5 tablespoons per gallon of water or 5 lbs per 100 gallons of water
Above info from:
The University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences
Cooperative Extension Service

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Amor est vitae essentia.
Love is the essence of life.
by obywan59 on March 02, 2006 12:39 PM
Since I have started using epsom salts and ground eggshells in my tomato planting holes, I have had zero blossom end rot.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by peppereater on March 02, 2006 11:40 PM
Terry, do you know if epsom salts are considered organic? I'm hoping to get certification in the future...
I've heard that epsom salts are a good addition for most vegetable crops... [dunno]

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by obywan59 on March 03, 2006 02:05 PM
I'm not sure Dave. I've tried doing a search online, but have'nt had much success yet. I'm sending an e-mail to my local organic fertilizer supplier to see if he knows.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by obywan59 on March 03, 2006 02:21 PM
Here we go. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate and according to this source magnesium sulfate is allowed for use as a soil amendment with a documented magnesium deficiency. (Scroll down below the first long table to section I of Recommendations for the National List

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Terry

May the force be with you
by peppereater on March 03, 2006 11:24 PM
Wow, Terri, thanks for that source. I've looked for that kind of information for years with no luck! I'm surprised at some of the things that are prohibited.

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by weezie13 on March 03, 2006 11:33 PM
I'm going to say Thanks for that info toooooooo,
Terryyyyyyy...
Nice.... [thumb] [thumb]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by obywan59 on March 04, 2006 12:03 AM
Here's a link for the OMRI products list of approved or restricted materials. (over 1300 products)

Synthetic magnesium sulfate products are restricted, but the 2 non-synthetic magnesium sulfate products are approved.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by peppereater on March 04, 2006 12:33 AM
Wow, more great information, Terry! That's just terrific! Thanks again! [thumb]

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Dave
Even my growlights are getting restless!
by obywan59 on March 05, 2006 02:56 AM
Ron Juftes at Seven Springs Farm got back to me and confirmed what I had already found out. Magnesium Sulfate is permitted by the NOP. (National Organic Program) If anyone is interested, here is his catalog . He has all sorts of organic supplements and supplies (but no epsom salts) There is also an e-mail address in case you would like a hard copy of the catalog.

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Terry

May the force be with you
by Mothman on March 06, 2006 11:33 AM
A good way to do the eggshells is to just whizz them in a blender with a little water. I mix a handfull of powdered limestone in the tomato holes and am not bothered with BMR
by Deborah L. on March 13, 2006 02:07 AM
Gerry, I'm in Encinitas, what part of San Diego County are you?
I planted a Celebrity tomato in a large pot in January. It's been slow but has blossoms now.
Comfrey, I love your name ! I used to grow comfrey and loved eating the young leaves and in salads and sandwiches. I miss comfrey, can't get it in the garden stores anymore.

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by fredix on March 17, 2006 07:20 AM
I don't have chickens, still fighting blossom end rot too. Indoor with an HPS 400w, I ameliorated soil adding compost and whatever I can find. Seems easier to manage but still here.
Good trick to see in advance it will appear is checking the leafs. If they break making a little noise, feeling something hard cracking denotes there is too much food in the leaves, calcium is not necessarly missing, but mostly going to the leaves instead of the fruits. I've read in a few places and when I cut half of the leaves, it helps, but not definitely.
I'm starting to think I have to live with for some time at least until I find to manage it.
At least removing them helps the next ones, and removing the black end, the small green tomatoes are a consolation to cook with. [Wink]
by Deborah L. on March 17, 2006 01:41 PM
I love cooking with green tomatoes too !
Very interesting information, Fredix ! [Wink]

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by weezie13 on March 17, 2006 08:44 PM
Fredix,
You don't happen to have a picture of the
tomato plant, pot, soil, lighting, etc... do you??
That would be a big help for us to help you figure out what's going on with your plant..

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by fredix on March 22, 2006 07:38 PM
I would be glad to take a few pictures but have only a cheap webcam, not good enough.
Actually, apart from the other plants in soil, I'm trying 3 plants in a hydroponic box with automatic watering. Two fruits appeared since a couple of days and they are just fine. Crossing my fingers. If they keep okay, watering seems the difficulty for indoor tomatoes.
Maybe it is the variety too. My first plants were an ancient variety, maybe they are more delicate.

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