Blossom End Rot in Your Vegetable Garden

Are fruits, which develop on your plants, blackened and disfigured at their ends? It can be a blossom end rot. While this disorder frequently affects tomatoes, other veggies are endangered as well. Let's see, how growers can recognize and prevent this vegetable disease.

What is blossom end rot?

picture of blossom end rot

Blossom end rot is a common tomato disorder. However, this veggie disease can hit an eggplant, pepper, or squash as well. It's unable to transfer between plants or fruits. Bacteria or fungi don't cause this ilness. It's a physiological problem, caused by mineral deficits in the fruit.

What causes blossom end rot?

Low amount of calcium in the soil can be a culprit. Frequently, the plant struggles with correct absorption of calcium as well. Irregular watering leads to such an imbalance. Find out, how to water tomato plants correctly, to protect them from this mineral disproportion.

At first, a small, watery spot appears on the blossom end of a fruit. If you are lucky, the disease won't affect your veggie any further. However, the disorder often gets worse. The sick spot enlarges, becomes sunken, leathery and black. On peppers it's tan - avoid confusing it with white sun scald. Then, a growing fruit becomes disfigured and ugly. Secondary bacterial or fungal infections lead to the total destruction of fruits.

How to treat blossom end rot?

You can treat the affected vegetable with the calcium chloride spray for the immediate relief. However, this is toxic to the plant, when applied too generously, or too frequently. To deal with this vegetable disease, you must improve the soil. This works too slowly to save your current harvest, but helps with the disorder prevention in the next year.

How to prevent blossom end rot?

  • Test the soil for calcium levels. If there is not enough, add lime several times a year. The epsom salt helps with other tomato problems. However, it can't affect the blossom end rot as it contains no calcium.
  • Mix some compost, organic fertilizer or seasoned manure into the soil. This adds nutrients, including calcium, and keeps moisture at the steady level.
  • Plant seedlings, when the soil warms up.
  • Avoid working the soil too close to the stems. This can damage the shallow roots and diminish an amount of nutrients, which can be absorbed by the plant.
  • Add 2-3 inches layer of organic mulch, like crushed leaves, a shredded bark, or some straw to your vegetable garden. It helps to maintain moisture and to slow down drying up of the soil.
  • Stop over-fertilizing. High levels of mineral salts inhibit calcium intake and make the problem worse. Don't use fertilizer rich in nitrogen.
  • Avoid excessive pruning, which weakens your plants.

Blossom end rot is the disease which affects plants, which grow in your vegetable garden. As it's difficult to fight, try to prevent this disorder. Share this tips with the other tomato growing vegetable gardeners, too!