Brown Tomato Bottoms and How To Treat Them

Imagine this scenario: you're growing tomatoes and everything is looking great.  Your little plant has lots of fruit.  You sit and admire them.



Then one day you check on a tomato that was getting ripe and notice the bottom is brown.

You gasp.

You get mad. 

You had plans for that tomato.

Sound familiar?

It's called Blossom End Rot (BER) and is a common occurrence with tomatoes.  Peppers, melons, squash and cucumbers are also susceptible.

Here is the tomato I found with blossom end rot:


What Is Blossom End Rot (BER)?

BER is a very common problem.  It's not a disease.  It's a disorder caused by a calcium deficiency in the plant.  The brown spots appear when fruits are about half of their full-grown size.  

What Causes BER?

A variety of things that can cause a calcium deficiency in your plants.

We experience extreme weather here in Maryland.  We had a lot of wet days in May followed by a lot of dry days, and now we're getting into the heat of summer.

These types of extreme conditions can cause a calcium deficiency in your soil.

Other factors include: root damage caused while growing the plant; too much nitrogen in the soil; or the soil was too cold when you planted.

How Do I Fix It?

You might have heard that adding egg shells will help.  I've done this in the past, but the shells don't break down fast enough to address the issue.  

You can gently work some compost into the top layer of soil. I tried this first but found another tomato with BER about a week later.  It was time for more drastic measures.

A little research on the Internet and inquiries to my gardening friends led me to this:   


Rot-Stop. I bought a bottle at my local farm and garden co-op.  

Remove the tomato with BER throw it out.  It's not edible because the fruit isn't fully ripe. 

Next, drench the entire plant -- the leaves, the fruit, and the soil -- with the Rot Stop.  The solution provides the calcium your plant needs and prevent further blossom end rot.  

WARNING: Apply the spray first thing in the morning or late in the evening to avoid burning your foliage!!

Then resume gardening as usual.  

That's it! Easy peasy.

Until next time garden gals and guys....

Happy farming!



Comments