Okay! Well, I'll have to move my straw back to sidedress, but now I know what to do if blossom end rot rears its ugly head here...or is it better to take preventive steps? How much do you add for each plant? And do you have to scratch it in, (it's so soluble, I wonder if it will soak in...)
I work in a garden center.. and we recommend this as well.. the powdered milk that is... no exact amount has been mentioned .. I would spinkle it around fairly liberally and water it in.. however the real cause of the problem is WATER.. inconsistant watering.. meaning too much to little or going from one extreme to another.. somtimes you can't help the weather...but if it is dry you may want to water the plants so they are getting consistent amounts of water.. nothing you can do if you get too much water from rain.. this too can cause blossom end rot to show up..it interferes with the uptake of calcium which is why adding calcium helps.. if you wait it out it will usually correct itself in time..
Blossom End rot in tomatoes (and other fruiting veggies) is not a disease.
It is the lack of calcium available during fruit development .
This is mostly noted as a black open spot where the blosson was on the end of the fruit.
Two old concepts that need to be updated,
1. Lack of Calcium in the soil.
Per Dr C.J. Male there are very few soils in the US that are lacking calcium. My Personal suggestion is to get a Professional Soil test done first before you add anything.
2. Foliar feeding calcium.
A plant can not absorb enough calcium thru the leaf ( epidermis ) tissues to do the job. Calcium needs to be taken up by the root system to be totally effective.
Here are some of the more common
1. Excessive nitrogen.
Feeding a plant with high nitrogen ferilizers causes an excessive amount of ammonium ions in the soil.
Excessive ammonium ions depresses (blocks) the uptake of calcium.
~Ammoniun Nitrate is #1 nitrogen fertilizer.
2. Lack of water. or uneven watering.
Most plants need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week.
This can be heat or wind related.
This is when the plant is losing more moisture than it can absorb.
During these times, the plant appears to shut down all other gowing activities for survival.
4. Soil pH
If a soil is too acidic, the plants can not absorb calcium. All of my
charts show a cut off of pH = 6.0.
5. Excessive deep cultivation.
Deep cultivation near the stem of the plant cuts off the surface feeder roots.
Thanks, Byron - your information answered my question about whether to try preventive measures with the powdered milk. I'll watch the fertiizing this season, and thank goodness I no longer have to contend with the constant winds we experienced in Oklahoma.
I saw on a gardening show that you should crumble egg shells and plant with the seedling. Egg shells are a terrific source of calcium, and they said this will prevent blossom end rot while making the tomatoes and peppers taste fantastic!
I tried it this year, but we don't have tomatoes yet so I'm not certain if it works or not. Hope this helps.
Epsom salts in a solution of TBL salts to 1 quart water and spray on plants. The magnesium in the epsom salts helps to release the Ca in the soils allowing the plants to take up the calcium. if you are certified organic use Sul-po-mag instead as it is an allowable input whereas epsom salts are not.
I sprinkle a half cup of ground dolomitic limestone around each plant a week after setting out seedlings and on or about july 4th to stop blossom end rot. Verticillium wilt was a worse problem to me but since I started putting a single sheet of newspaper around the base of each cage to stop the wind and splatter from getting to the young plants that is less trouble also. I grow 'mostly' Burpee Supersteak tomatoes.