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Blossom End Rot Plague

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Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  Jay Bird on 4/6/2011, 10:06 am

We are plagued with BER (Blossom End Rot) Located on the first tier of some plants , total about 50 actual tom's affected, wife has learned to identify early and is cutting bad part off and making green tomato relish, I think during a very heavy rain about 40 days ago the greenhouse subsoil got flooded and caused the problem, my research has told me that BER is not something caused today and shows up tomorrow , its generally caused by poor watering practices during the development stage, I hope so anyway. We have a abundance of first tier fruit that looks to have made it past the problem and are huge, the biggest tom's I have ever grown.

Hoping they begin to turn in the next week or so!
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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  staf74 on 4/6/2011, 10:21 am

BER is simply a calcium deficiency from what I know. Once you google / research that aspect of it, you will find numerous ways to prevent this from happening. Its a relatively easy fix so not to worry. Correct that and you should be fine. Hope this nudges you in the right direction Very Happy
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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/6/2011, 11:10 am

Jay, several here have added powdered milk to their toms when they transplant, or put them in the ground. I had some that were looking a bit yellow after I transplanted to bigger pots, sprinkled a bit of PM on them finished covering with soil, and watered, they perked up. I don't know if it was the transplanting or PM, and didn't care as long as they perked up.
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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  Jay Bird on 4/6/2011, 11:20 am

I think I found the cause, about a month ago I added horse manure compost (top Dress) and watered, seveal of the articles read this morning state that a influence of fertilizer during fruit set can cause BER ,, since (hard to explain) its such a few all the same size and all on the bottom tier I think that the Horse compost was the culprit, none of the rest of the larger tom's appear to be affected nor do any on the upper tires.
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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  Lavender Debs on 4/6/2011, 11:21 am

I've heard of powder milk sprinkled on the soil too, it must work since so many swear by it. Bellfrebat (aka retried member 1) did a whole thread on this last year. At the first sign of BER she crushes-chops calcium tablets, adds them to water in a can and uses that to water the tomatoes....no more BER.

I have both sprinkled the crushed tablet (they are just like chalk under the coating, very easy to do with basic knife skills, a blender would probably be fine...mix with the water right away to prevent a dust storm in your blender) as well as added the crushed tablets to my water can. Seems to stop the problem dead in its track, though it will not heal affected fruit.

Tomatoes can be so fussy that this just seems too easy, but it works for me.....and no milk smell.
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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  acara on 4/6/2011, 12:47 pm

I've been battling this for years in containers ..... to the point I snipped the flowers off the plants & didn't let them produce until the plant got larger (because the first tier of fruit had a 80% incidence of BER).

FWIW, this was the answer I got from a "show grower" (the guys who are contracted to grow a specific variety/strain to produce optimum results & convince the Procument/Buyers to source their client for the particular item). They grow some of the most gorgeous tomatoes you've ever seen in your life (which are never that nice when we get them in the grocery stores Evil or Very Mad ).

(paraphrase) The first tier fruit has a higher occurance of BER because of the plant hasn't grown sufficiently to fully utilize the available calcium in the soil (or the calcium isn't present/available in the first place).
Calcium supplements, additives and enhancers (like Epsom salts) used at the time of planting, rarely are absorbed/utilized by the first sprouting/bloom, especially if you are not at target PH, but have a impact later in the plants development.

So ...

1. Mix your soil, with calcium additives/enhancers, well ahead of time (30 days was the advice I received). Keep it covered/enclosed until ready to use.
2. If you add calcium at time of planting, or after planting, you may want to consider snipping your first tier buds and wait until the plant has had some time to develop (what I used to do).
3. Make sure your pH is correct, or all the Calcium / Epsom salts in the world won't help you, as it may not be available to the plant.

I changed techniques this season, did a dedicated batch of MM for my Tom's and added my calcium and Epsom salts at the same time. Then I let the batch sit out in the box for almost 30 days before I planted. So far it's working like a charm & I haven't seen any BER yet.

This is also the first time I've ever had decent first tier fruit from my tom's ...probably ever.

I'm not convinced enough to consider it "gospel", just because it's working once, so far ..... but I'm slowly moving in that direction.
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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  Jay Bird on 4/6/2011, 1:23 pm

Thanks Acara , your post adds weight to what I have already gleemed from the vast amount of data on the WEB ,, I dont think I will have any further issues past the first tier
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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  staf74 on 4/6/2011, 1:34 pm

Acara,

Great post !!! Truly detailed and informative....first tier snipping stuff...awesome !!

I hope Jay you can go on and get past this problem as your greenhouse / bed layout is very impressive and will hold masses of Tomatoes I'm sure.

Good luck !!!
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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  camprn on 4/6/2011, 1:58 pm

@Jay Bird wrote:Thanks Acara , your post adds weight to what I have already gleemed from the vast amount of data on the WEB ,, I dont think I will have any further issues past the first tier
DItto to Acara, anecdotaly I had similar issues last year with my first tier fruit, and later season results, though the first fruits surprisingly were not completely destroyed. THANK YOU for being so concise with your explanation. way to go
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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  acara on 4/6/2011, 5:43 pm

No problem ... just take it with a grain of salt, as I'm still trying to validate the science behind some of these tips/techniques, firsthand.

But it's worked in my garden so far..
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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  Odd Duck on 4/7/2011, 6:04 pm

One more tidbit to add to the mix - worm castings are supposed to be high in calcium. So anybody that has access to worm castings or vermicompost, this should help with BER. I don't know of any studies on it, but there are studies out recently that show increased disease resistance in plants with 10-20% vermicompost in the soil mix. I know worm castings are expensive to buy, but you could use it as a smaller percentage and still likely get some of these benefits. My vermicompost will be used first on the toms. I also am making/using aerated vermicompost tea to spread the benefits wider.

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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  camprn on 4/7/2011, 6:07 pm

@Odd Duck wrote:One more tidbit to add to the mix - worm castings are supposed to be high in calcium. So anybody that has access to worm castings or vermicompost, this should help with BER. I don't know of any studies on it, but there are studies out recently that show increased disease resistance in plants with 10-20% vermicompost in the soil mix. I know worm castings are expensive to buy, but you could use it as a smaller percentage and still likely get some of these benefits. My vermicompost will be used first on the toms. I also am making/using aerated vermicompost tea to spread the benefits wider.
Yet another reason I want the wee wiggly beasties in my garden!
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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  CarolynPhillips on 4/7/2011, 7:37 pm

sorry for your loss Jay. when you loose a lot of toms , its kinda heart breaking. Sad


About those worms.= Fixing up a worm bed here soon. Got an old frig, got some leaves, got some cow manure and horse manure. Very Happy
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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

Post  SFG in Chicago on 4/9/2011, 2:48 am

My mother is a Master Gardener and long time container tomato grower. She swears by crushed eggshells, she puts them in the hole when she plants. She had a lot of BER before she started using the eggshells, and none since. So heeding her advice I put eggshells in the holes when I planted my tomatoes last year, all except for 1. That is the only plant that got BER. I gave it some powdered milk & top dressed with crushed eggshells & none of the tomatoes that formed after that had BER. Now there are tomato experts on other forums that swear eggshells & the like do nothing, but it seems too much to be coincidence to me.

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Re: Blossom End Rot Plague

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