A Gardener’s Diary: Tips to prevent blossom end rot

Jocelyne Sewell says there are things that can be done with soil to prevent this common garden irritation in tomatoes

The much-needed rain we had last Saturday was enough to fill all the rain barrels and more. I was down to about one jug of water. What a difference it made in the garden. Everything was greener and the plants looked a lot better.

Someone phoned me to ask about bottom end rot in her tomatoes. I wrote about it in previous years but here it is again. This text is taken from Twin Oaks Nursery on their website:

“There are several issues that a gardener has to be vigilant about regarding growing healthy tomato plants, and one of those is blossom end rot, which strikes just prior to the maturity of the tomatoes. Quite a disappointment for the gardener who has tended to tomato plants for weeks and greatly anticipated eating the fruits of his labour. Blossom end rot can be prevented, even stopped after it has already begun to attack a tomato plant, with several applications of epsom salt.

“Blossom end rot is caused by a lack of calcium in the garden soil. The calcium- deficient soil is just not able to bring the tomatoes to the ripe stage before the fruit rots. Blossom end rot starts out as a small dark circle on the tomato’s blossom end and will spread through the green or partially ripe tomato.

“To prevent blossom end rot, work epsom salt into the garden soil before planting tomatoes. Apply one pound of epsom salt to the standard sized raised bed garden (4 x 6-8’) or one cup of epsom salt per container that tomatoes will be grown in and work into the soil. The epsom salt will then be a readily available source of calcium and magnesium for the tomato plant.

“Epsom salt also promotes root growth and development for all garden vegetables and flowers and should be worked into the soil along with organic matter at the beginning of spring. A side dressing of epsom salt or watering gardening vegetables with a mixture of ½ cup of epsom salt dissolved in one gallon of water a couple of times during the growing season will keep plants healthy and growing vigorously. When applying dry epsom salt as a side dressing, be careful not to allow the epsom salt to touch any part of the plant.

“If blossom end rot strikes tomato plants, it can be stopped and the plant can go on to produce healthy tomatoes. At the first sign of blossom end rot, remove all affected tomatoes from the plant and discard. Begin watering the tomato plant with an epsom salt mixture once per week. Dissolve ½ cup of epsom salt into a gallon of water and slowly pour the entire gallon around the base of the tomato plant. The epsom salt mixture will go directly to the plant roots, and will be absorbed by the plant and stop future developing tomatoes from being afflicted by blossom.”

After thinking I was free of it, I got some BER on some of my tomatoes but only the paste tomatoes. Over the years, I found that I had the most trouble with them. After I loose a few tomatoes, the rest usually are free of it and still gives me a good crop. I never had it on cherry tomatoes. I might not have put enough epsom salt in the holes. I did put some when I transplanted the peppers and the plants are the best I ever had in years. They are big, with dark green leaves, large fruits already on them and lots more coming up.

For more information: 250-558-4556 plantlady1@shaw.ca

Jocelyne Sewell is an organic gardening enthusiast in the North Okanagan and member of Okanagan Gardens & Roses Club. Her column appears every other Wednesday.

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

(Vernon Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Vernon Search and Rescue responds after family gets UTV stuck on SilverStar trails

The family activated their SOS beacon around 3 p.m. once they realized they could be facing a night alone in the mountains

Vernon’s Heron Grove retirement facility. (Good Samaritan Society photo)
Resident of Vernon’s Heron Grove retirement home tests positive for COVID-19

Interior Health has not declared an outbreak at the facility

Dastkar, a new furniture store in Vernon, features handmade, unique furniture carved from wood and inlaid with brass in the Chiniot style. The business located on 43rd Avenue was started in December 2020 but is currently unstaffed due to COVID-19 staffing shortages. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Vernon’s hidden handmade furniture store

Owners of Shahi Pakwan Indian restaurant opened the South Asian furniture store in December 2020

When people talk about Blue Monday, they really mean Seasonal Affective Disorder, according to CMHA Kelowna. (Pixabay)
CMHA Kelowna offers tips for managing winter blues during COVID-19

CMHA says it’s important to take care of mental well-being during these times

sdf
2nd in-school violence incident in Mission, B.C, ends in arrest

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

U.S. military units march in front of the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, as they rehearse for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.

President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Most Read