Monday, July 12, 2010

Blossom End Rot

One of my Opalka tomato plants has come down with blossom end rot. Blossom end rot (BER) is not a pathogen-borne disease, but rather a calcium-uptake issue. Either there is calcium soil deficiency, or conditions (drought or excess water usually) lead to impaired calcium delivery from the roots. None of the other neighboring tomatoes are suffering similar issues, so I am loathe to blame this on a soil calcium deficiency. Also, this area is pretty heavily composted each year, and my compost is rich with egg shells. This plant has been lagging behind the others -- spindly and few leaves. I suspect the lie of my uneven clay soil is to blame - drainage is not ideal in this specific area. Also likely to blame is this crazy weather -- the area around this plant especially can look very parched, and then it gets completely soaked with these quick, heavy storms.

Even though I am convinced this a water issue, I gave all the plants a good soak with compost tea, as well as some organic fertilizer. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the early fruits on this single plant will be the only ones affected. I don't think you necessarily have to remove the fruit (not a contagious situation), but I didn't want the plant pouring energy into deformed tomatoes. An interesting tidbit I found is that paste tomatoes like Opalka are more prone to blossom end rot. Many folks attest to the productivity of this variety, so hopefully the next round will come out healthy!


  1. It seems like everyone has this problem this year. Today I posted my second post on the subject of BER over at my "Chicago Garden." The gist of it is that it seems that with elongated types of tomatoes their more prone to BER because of the shape of the tomato.

    Not a problem with your watering or our weather, but just kinda happens with them.

  2. Cool, MBT - I want to try that grafting project your expert describes!