I’ve a sad story to tell today, we’ve had our very first experience of blossom end rot. Sigh! Thing is, it’s not necessarily unusual for gardeners to experience this with their tomatoes, it’s just the first time we’ve seen it so we thought it would be a great thing to share and hopefully help you guys learn along with us and make it less common.
It sound dramatic, doesn’t it, blossom end rot! Like a leg is going to fall off or something, but in reality its a wee black spot on the end of a tomato. Yup a tomato so it doesn’t even affect the entire plant, so not nearly as dramatic as say, potato blight. But still, an annoyance just the same.
So what exactly is it?
Well like I said, a wee black spot on the end of the tomato. But the wee black spot gets a bit bigger and becomes sunken because the flesh of the tomato under the spot is a bit on the dodgy side. I won’t say rotten, but essentially yeah, it might as well be. And it’s not just on the outside, it carried on inside the tomato too.
And it’s cause?
Well basically it’s down to watering, well watering and calcium deficiency. It’s caused by calcium deficiency, basically this deficiency shows itself in the furthest away part of the plant from the roots, so the very end of the fruit.
I said it’s to do with watering because most of the time this is exactly what has caused the issue, poor watering. See for the calcium to get from the roots to the very ends of all the branches, and essentially the fruit, there needs to be good water flow. Generally the soil has enough calcium for the plant, its just that it can’t get to where it needs to be.
So this is what caused my problems I think, this year I am getting used to the new greenhouse and this has meant getting used to all the small changes, like how quickly the plants are draining the water reservoir. So yeah there was a couple of times that the water ran out before I had realised and I think this has caused the problem.
Now here’s the next conundrum, it is only affecting one type of tomato plant – my San Marzano plums. And even more strange… there is one plant in each of the quadgrow planters, so not both in the same water supply.
Da da daaaaaaa!!!!!!!!
Ok I was trying to make a big Dan Brown style conspiracy thing out of nothing there. There is a perfectly sensible reason why it’s specifically affecting these two plants. They are both at the same end of the quadgrow planters, the far end from the door. The end that is very, slightly uphill in the greenhouse. Cause you know, life would be too easy if the greenhouse floor was perfect level.
So what has happened is that the water has begun to dry up, and as the floor slopes, the furthest end has been left without water first, meaning those two plants were the first ones to feel the drought and so, had just long enough for it to cause an issue.
So, I did consider the trick of adding Epsom Salts to the water to help the plants absorb calcium (old gardener’s trick) but I think it would be overkill for such a silly thing, so instead I have simply set an alert on my phone to remind me to check the water levels. That pops up ever Sunday, so we shouldn’t have anymore issues of the plants running out of water.
I’ll keep you guys updated on how we get on but in the meantime to make you feel all happy and smiley again… how about I share a picture of this little blue tilt who came to visit with his friend?