Tomato blossom end rot

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mishmish

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The saga continues...at the beginning of the summer I made some self-watering planters out of all of my 5 gallon coconut oil pails. I planted a variety of the tomato seedlings that our farmer's market neighbor vendors were selling - some heritage, some not, one cherry, one plum type...a variety. None specifically for container growing but I didn't know to ask. They've grown well in their (surprisingly expensive!) cages and keep putting out flowers, but most of the tomatoes that I've seen forming have blossom end rot. I watched Youtube videos, read gardening advice, waffled over adding lime or not adding lime, finally added some. We havent gotten a single edible tomato yet although there was ONE almost-ripe cherry tomato on one of the plants today, By tomorrow, a squirrel will probably have eaten it. We haven't had any diseases, pests, or any of the usual problem, except for blossom end rot. They say it's a water intake problem, and/or a calcium problem. I gave them some tomato fertilizer today. Fingers crossed. This is not a money saving venture. Between the potting soil and fertilizer and cages and weed cloth and seedlings...I really appreciate farmers now though.
 

Obsidian

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I feel your frustration. I've dealt with blossom end rot myself, always when growing in a container. I never did get a edible tomato off those plants.
 

DKing

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I feel your pain. I am growing some of my tomatoes in pots, but they are mostly in 10 gallon ones and they are doing really well, but I have two in 5 gallon pots that are both struggling for different reasons. One has herbicidal damage I think from some bad compost I bought. I thought maybe it was local since I live near an orchard so am at risk for herbicidal drift, but I planted some beans in the same pot a month later as a test of the soil, and they are showing damage too so I am pretty sure it was something in mix I put in the pot. The other one is just struggling with nutritional issues that I can't seem to correct, although it is putting out tomatoes and none have blossom end rot. None though have matured enough to eat. (green zebra, if anyone has experience with the growth of these ones. Total leaf roll from early on and slow growth) The tomatoes in the bigger pots are doing awesome, and the ones in my raised beds in actual soil are doing INCREDIBLE!! Pots are tougher in my experience. I have lots of peppers in pots and the peppers so far have gotten to almost full sized but still green, then they start developing a soft spot on one side. Not on the bottom so I don't think blossom end rot, but possibly sun scald or some virus. they are all in 5 gallon pots as well. Next year, anything in pots will be in 10 gallon minimum for me. As for the blossom end rot, I didscratch some bone meal into the pots of the peppers about 10 days ago, and all the current peppers look awesome so far. (I am also making sure to water more than I had been) Not sure if it helped (I was taking precautions incase my pepper issue was BER) but all the other peppers that developed problems looked great until they were quite large. The peppers I have in the pots are all bell pepper of some type. Peppers and tomatoes have fairly similar issues and nutritional needs from what I have read, so what works for one should work for the other?
 

goat soap rulz!

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For us, it's a calcium problem. We spray this stuff called rot stop on our tomatoe bloossoms and it works really well for us! But we don't grow in pots. We have a garden.
Bonide Rot-Stop Liquid Plant Food 16 oz. - Ace Hardware
Here is the stuff we use.

Next time before planting the baby tomatoes plants put a 30/70 mixture of Epsom salt and water in the hole. I don't know why, but it has really helped our tomatoes grow and prevented rot!
 

Jersey Girl

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Some of my tomatoes are struggling this year also. It’s been incredibly hot. Dropping blossoms.
 

mishmish

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I feel your pain. I am growing some of my tomatoes in pots, but they are mostly in 10 gallon ones and they are doing really well, but I have two in 5 gallon pots that are both struggling for different reasons. One has herbicidal damage I think from some bad compost I bought. I thought maybe it was local since I live near an orchard so am at risk for herbicidal drift, but I planted some beans in the same pot a month later as a test of the soil, and they are showing damage too so I am pretty sure it was something in mix I put in the pot. The other one is just struggling with nutritional issues that I can't seem to correct, although it is putting out tomatoes and none have blossom end rot. None though have matured enough to eat. (green zebra, if anyone has experience with the growth of these ones. Total leaf roll from early on and slow growth) The tomatoes in the bigger pots are doing awesome, and the ones in my raised beds in actual soil are doing INCREDIBLE!! Pots are tougher in my experience. I have lots of peppers in pots and the peppers so far have gotten to almost full sized but still green, then they start developing a soft spot on one side. Not on the bottom so I don't think blossom end rot, but possibly sun scald or some virus. they are all in 5 gallon pots as well. Next year, anything in pots will be in 10 gallon minimum for me. As for the blossom end rot, I didscratch some bone meal into the pots of the peppers about 10 days ago, and all the current peppers look awesome so far. (I am also making sure to water more than I had been) Not sure if it helped (I was taking precautions incase my pepper issue was BER) but all the other peppers that developed problems looked great until they were quite large. The peppers I have in the pots are all bell pepper of some type. Peppers and tomatoes have fairly similar issues and nutritional needs from what I have read, so what works for one should work for the other?
I planted some Green Zebras too, for the first time. Re your bad compost problem: I read about an herbicide that Dow developed that was supposed to be safe for grazing animals but apparently the manure from animals that have eaten hay or feed made with the bad hay, even when composted, deforms plants, makes them grow all twisted and weird.

"Aminopyralid is a systemic herbicide with post- and pre-emergent activity that is used mainly to rid hayfields of noxious broadleaf weeds such as Canada thistle and species of knapweed, among others. ... The product is still being sold in the U.S.; the UK banned aminopyralids in 2009"

Some of my tomatoes are struggling this year also. It’s been incredibly hot. Dropping blossoms.
It's been in the 90's here for a while, hit 100 today.

Just crush up some sheet rock. Mostly calcium. Spread around plants, water in. Worked for me.
Interesting, I wouldn't have known that. I ground up eggshells as fine as I could, blended them with water and poured that in the buckets. But probably not very soluble.
 

DKing

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I planted some Green Zebras too, for the first time. Re your bad compost problem: I read about an herbicide that Dow developed that was supposed to be safe for grazing animals but apparently the manure from animals that have eaten hay or feed made with the bad hay, even when composted, deforms plants, makes them grow all twisted and weird.

"Aminopyralid is a systemic herbicide with post- and pre-emergent activity that is used mainly to rid hayfields of noxious broadleaf weeds such as Canada thistle and species of knapweed, among others. ... The product is still being sold in the U.S.; the UK banned aminopyralids in 2009"
Yes, there is a product called Grazon that is often spread on pasture lands or hay fields. I had to talk my cousin out of using it on her pastures this past year as it was her plan. Her property borders a lake and I think it would be super irresponsible to use that product where it can easily get into the ground water and thus leach into the lake. Fortunately after reading up on it more, she decided against using it. They use their horse manure in their garden so knowing it could still cause issues years after application was a huge deterrent for her.

I was hoping that the professional grade bagged compost that I bought from a nursery would be free of any potential contaminants, but I read that it happens sometimes in professional product. The compost you can get from your municipals yard waste programs can be an even bigger risk apparently, with people using Round Up and other herbicides on their lawns. I have got a big pile of my own compost started now and won't be taking any chances next year on using any that I haven't prepared myself.

I plan to try the Green Zebra again next year, but this time I will put it into my actual garden and give it a genuine chance to thrive rather than trying it in the container. The tomatoes on my current plant are nice looking so far, but the plant itself looks stressed so I don't know if they will reach their full taste potential and I have heard good things about it.
 

mishmish

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I thought I'd found a good use for all the coconut oil pails. I did make pesto tonight with basil from another pail, it seems happy there. I'm going to build an herb spiral in the space where my raised garden beds used to be and plant a row of thornless blackberries along the fence. I'm trying to do more of a permaculture type garden for pollinators and birds so I probably won't use these again next year but it was a fun experiment. I'm glad that we weren't counting on them to feed us.
 

jgordo02

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I use plain old calcium pills when I plant my tomatoes each year. I toss 2 into the planting hole when I plant. Takes care of blossom end rot. if it’s a wet season I sometimes push another pill Or two into the soil around the roots.
 
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I poke a couple Tums (antacid from pharmacy section) around each plant for calcium. Then sprinkle Epsom Salt around each plant. The magnesium in Epsom Salt helps the plant utilize the calcium. As an added bonus the Epsom Salt helps increase blossoms. More blossoms means more fruit. Because of the more blossoms I use it on green beans, flowers, and pretty much anything that I want more blossoms on. Avoid it on things that you don't want blossoms on like herbs, lettuce, and root crops. Save the tums for tomatoes and peppers- those are the ones most likely to have blossom end rot.
 

Snowbell

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Tomatoes love long deep waterings. Pot are difficult because once they dry out it’s harder to get them to hold water again. Water will usually run down the side of the pot and out the drainage holes. If it were me I’d pick off all the green tomatoes that are showing rot, no use having the plant use up that energy. And increase your watering
 

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