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Self-contained Box Gardens: Tomato blossom end rot

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billgrubbs
Kaysville, UT
(Zone 5a)

March 20, 2009
3:45 PM

Post #6294955

I have been growing some roma tomatoes indoors, some in 1 gal pots and some in an HEB (Homemade earth box). I just noticed last night that some of the tomatoes have blossom end rot. I have read that it is caused mostly by inconsistent watering and calcium deficiency. I am sure the gal pot tomatoes have not had very consistent water. Knowing what I know about advantages of the HEB, with the consistent water and fertilizer I was surprised to find I am having blossom end rot on those tomatoes. Any suggestions?
LoneStarKayaker
Kountze, TX

March 20, 2009
9:56 PM

Post #6296383

Did you put dolomite or hyradated lime in your potting mix? It will usually prevent BER.
Barbara
joy112854
Crestview, FL

March 22, 2009
3:43 AM

Post #6302072

Bill Grubbs: I'm afraid of that with my HEBs also, I like the EBs best. I'm praying I don't have that problem myself with the topsys and revolutionary planters, I'm going to add some dolomite lime to them when I add the medium to them and the toms.
joy
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 22, 2009
2:16 PM

Post #6303068

Spray and Grow has calcium and magnisium in it. It ends BER if you use it and kicks up the productin of tomatoes and the sugar content of any fruit of veggie. This is redundant for Joy, sorry.
tommyr2006
Poughkeepsie, NY

March 22, 2009
3:03 PM

Post #6303222

Also try using the product "Messenger", it's a harpin protein that really works wonders on Tomatos!
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 22, 2009
4:32 PM

Post #6303517

Agreed! I mix ( sorry, redundant again for Joy), messenger, spray and grow and Bills or Mighty Plant or alternate them.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

March 22, 2009
7:19 PM

Post #6304306

Ok, when I planted my candy apple onions in two of the HEBs, what I did was take another tote and mix little by little 2 cups of dolomite lime into the Jungle Grow I'm using for the onions and then added it to the HEB, I didn't fill the HEB up to the top because, the totes (18 gallon ones) are too deep in comparison to the EBs, I used weed cloth cut to make the mulch covers with and hopefully it will be fine. The coconut coir may not be the culprit as TPlant uses the EBs with the coconut coir, the culprit just may be the HEBs without mulch covers. When it rains the coconut coir gets wet and gets heavy without a mulch cover, add to that the deepness of the tote and you have one big problem. The reservoir on the HEBs needs to be bigger and the deepness needs to be less deep on the top part, that is my observations anyways. I mean, the wicking device should draw the moisture up; but how high can it go????
joy
billgrubbs
Kaysville, UT
(Zone 5a)

March 23, 2009
5:18 PM

Post #6308412

What a lot of great suggestions. From what I have read online, all is not lost. Just because some of the tomatoes have BER, it doesn't mean the later developing ones will. I did apply some dolomite live, but perhaps not enough. I will try that as well as some of the other suggestions. It is still snowing outside and I have 1/2 dollar size roma tomatoes. If I can solve the BER issue, we will be eating tomatoes soon.

Thanks for all of the suggestions! As usual, this is a great site for good tried and true information - not some sales person trying to pawn something off on you.
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 23, 2009
8:59 PM

Post #6309356

"Snowing outside" and you've got tomatoes! I'd say ya done good, Bill!

Quite often small/early plants will give you BER on your first fruits and as the temps stabilize (or warm up!) and the root to topgrowth is more in line it'll not be seen other later fruit. I am hoping your greenhouse (or house) is warm enough so that the root system is also warm, or are the in pots on a cold floor? The lime will take a short while to kick in so if other conditions are good you should be fine. And by the way, Roma tomatoes are notorious for getting BER much more so than many other varieties.

GardenGlory, I've got several bottles of Spray and Grow and it only contains iron and zinc, no mention of calcium or magnesium; I wonder if you are thinking of something else.

Happy Gardening, Folks, er, "winter in-house growing" for you, Bill!

Shoe
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 23, 2009
9:37 PM

Post #6309508

Nope, saw Bill Muscott talking about it this weekend. Im sure he said it did. He has often said it has more than the iron or zinc. I can prove nothing tho, thats for sure.

Ive done so many test with this stuff over the years, this stuff just works for me, not changing now.
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 23, 2009
11:13 PM

Post #6309896

My bottles are probably ten years old so was wondering if your bottle lists more ingredients than when it first came out. Thanks!

Shoe
billgrubbs
Kaysville, UT
(Zone 5a)

March 24, 2009
9:12 PM

Post #6314251

Thanks Horseshoe! You have given me some more clues to the cause. I have them in a south window and they have started getting really hot in the day and probably too cold at night because we turn the heat way down. If I can just hang on to them until I can plant them outside in May. We also have hot peppers about an inch long now. Hopefully, they won't get BER.
Horseshoe
Efland, NC
(Zone 7a)

March 24, 2009
10:13 PM

Post #6314467

Wishing you success!

I wonder if you have room on top of your fridge for those young peppers. They love heat more than tomatoes do. If there are only a few I wonder if they can be in the windows during the day then moved to the top of the fridge at night. (Lot of heat coming from the back of a fridge!)

Shoe
billgrubbs
Kaysville, UT
(Zone 5a)

March 24, 2009
10:16 PM

Post #6314478

I will try that with a few. Just getting them away from the window at night would probably help.
Wulfsden
Riverdale, NJ
(Zone 6a)

April 20, 2009
9:48 PM

Post #6438594

Did I hear/read somewhere that a dose of Epsom salts would stop BER?
billgrubbs
Kaysville, UT
(Zone 5a)

April 21, 2009
11:56 AM

Post #6441343

From everything I have read and been told, it is more likely a calcium problem. The good news is it will most likely correct itself as the plant matures and becomes better established. It is also controlled by even and consistent watering.
DianaT
Mullins, SC
(Zone 8a)

April 21, 2009
3:43 PM

Post #6442285

You can also get Blossom End Rot spray, you mix it with water and use as a foliage spray. It stops the BER but you have to be faithful in using it especially after heavy rains. It provides the calcium the plant lacks.

BER is usually caused by lack of calcium in the plant. I've gotten it on peppers too. When I spray my tomatoes I spray the peppers as well. Buy a 1 gallon sprayer that you won't use for anything else except maybe messenger or foliar ferts.

I usually get a pint of concentrate at Lowe's and it lasts a couple of seasons.

*Edited because I can't spell.

This message was edited Apr 21, 2009 11:44 AM
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

April 21, 2009
10:22 PM

Post #6444131

Important to fight BER early. From the University of Georgia:

" Fruit does not transpire as much as leaves; thus, less calcium is deposited there, resulting in a localized calcium deficiency in the fruit. Ninety percent of the calcium that the mature fruit will contain is in the fruit by the time (the) fruit is about thumbnail size . . ."

"Foliar sprays of calcium won't correct blossom-end rot once it has occurred on the fruit. Fruits do not have openings in the epidermis (skin) where moisture can be lost or where calcium can enter the fruit from surface application. Thus, direct application of calcium to fruit is ineffective, although when applied to the foliage, it can help prevent the condition from occurring on developing fruit . ."

http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/horticulture/blossom-rot.html
joy112854
Crestview, FL

April 22, 2009
2:53 PM

Post #6447233

From what I've read BER can happen on the earlier fruit anyways, and it might not happen on the later fruit. So, not all is lost if your first crop has BER; but remember tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and potatoes need calcium and magnesium to prevent BER, sometimes too, it is caused by inconsistant watering, such as in too much water, not enough water, etc.
joy
David_Paul
Clinton, CT
(Zone 6b)

April 23, 2009
12:57 AM

Post #6449871

I get early fruits, squash mainly but a few tomatoes, which have BER and that is the end of it. I know I have enough of everything in the soil and in the self-watering containers, The soil is moist in the spring and the container reservoirs I keep full so some BER is just something I accept.
gardenglory
Gainesville, FL
(Zone 9a)

April 23, 2009
11:30 AM

Post #6451285

I sprayed the tomatoes again with spray and grow last night. I have been using it this year and altho I havent had any BER, which is good, the plants are much bigger and helathier and they are blooming more. I hope they keep this up thru fruiting..

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