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Blossom End Rot: What’s the Cause, and How Do You Beat It?

July 25, 2022
Written by Aaron

Blossom end rot is a common issue that gardeners face when growing tomatoes and other vegetable plants, but it’s very easy to beat. Though it may look like a fungus or pathogen, the cause of blossom end rot is much less worrisome—it’s just a vitamin deficiency! If your plant shows signs of blossom end rot, you can still beat it in time to cultivate a new flush of successful fruits. Here’s how you can prevent and treat it so that you don’t lose out on those delicious garden edibles you’ve worked so hard to grow!

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To Beat Blossom End Rot, You Need to Understand the Cause

Calcium deficiency is to blame for the ever-dreaded blossom end rot. Dark, mushy bottoms appear on tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, melons, and peppers, resulting from insufficient calcium uptake. Sub-par calcium levels in the soil typically cause insufficient calcium uptake. However, it can occasionally be caused by injury or stress to the plant, which can inhibit your plant’s ability to absorb nutrients properly. So, if you want to beat blossom end rot, you need to make sure your plant gets the calcium it needs.

The Best Calcium Treatments for Blossom End Rot

There are several methods for providing vegetable plants with the calcium they need to prevent their blossom ends from rotting. For best results, use a combination of products at the time of planting and throughout the growing season to keep your plants sufficiently nourished.

Bone Meal

Adding bone meal into the soil when planting vegetables is one of the best preventative treatments for blossom end issues. It’s packed with calcium, so the soil will be well fortified for several months. Simply follow the directions on the package, mix it into the hole where you plan on planting your veggie plant, and water well after planting. If you have any leftover crushed eggshells, you can add some of those, too! They’re a terrific natural source of calcium.

Calcium-Fortified Fertilizer

Most fertilizers contain three main nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, there are many more fertilizer formulas fortified with additional nutrients like calcium and magnesium. Using a calcium-fortified fertilizer at least once per month during your growing season will help ensure the soil is never lacking in this essential nutrient. Fertilizers formulated specifically for tomatoes will have an optimal blend of vitamins and minerals for tomatoes and other plants vulnerable to blossom end problems.

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Foliar Spray

For plants that have already shown symptoms of blossom end rot, foliar sprays are fast-acting solutions that can save the rest of your crops. Vegetable plants can soak in nutrients through their leaves, so foliar sprays apply liquid calcium that your plants can instantly absorb. Remove any damaged plant parts, generously apply your foliar spray all over the plant, and soon you’ll see some new, healthy fruits emerge!

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Bonus Tips to Beat Blossom End Rot

In addition to the three treatments for blossom end rot listed above, there are some extra steps you can take to protect your vegetables:

  • Water consistently. Inconsistent watering can stress out your plants, and if there isn’t enough moisture in the soil, the roots won’t be able to soak up the necessary nutrients. Try to maintain a regular watering schedule and water first thing in the morning before the sun has heated the soil.
  • Test your soil. A soil test at the start of the season will tell you if your soil is in good shape or needs some supplements to help boost its nutrient density. Fresh potting soil typically has lots of good stuff, but if you’ve worked with the same garden soil for a couple of years, it’s likely to be depleted of nutrients and healthy bacteria.
  • Avoid damaging your plants’ roots. Injured roots can’t absorb moisture and nutrients properly! Be gentle when transplanting, adding stakes or tomato cages around your plant, or digging nearby in the garden.

Eising Garden Centre has all the tools you need to beat blossom end rot in Ontario! Visit us soon to stock up with all the necessary vegetable gardening supplies for summer.

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