Do you have a large spot on the bottom of your tomatoes? This problem is called a tomato blossom end spot. The good news is that it is not a disease or fungus. Tomato blossom end rot occurs when the plant has a calcium deficiency. This happens when the plant has not had enough water. With our recent heat wave, it’s been difficult to keep our plants happy. The solution to this is to use drip irrigation. You want to water your plant’s roots, not the leaves. Give your tomato plants a good soaking using the drip irrigation hose every few days instead of just sprinkling each day. As always the best time to water is early in the morning.
Are your tomato plants in a container? During a heat wave give your potted plant a gallon of water a day slowly to allow the plant’s roots to soak the water up. I water my potted plants during this heat wave twice a day, first thing in the morning and at dusk. If you are going away for a few days on vacation you can use the following tips. Fill a water bottle or bottles up with water, then insert them upside down in the container. If you do not have a bottle, you can fill a ziplock bag with water. Then prick tiny holes with a pin. Place the bag or bags in the container. The water will slowly release as the plant needs it. This will work for a day or two.
The good news is tomato blossom end spot is not viral, bacterial or fungal. With a consistent water schedule, you can solve this problem and produce healthy tomatoes.
Tomato Blight is another common problem in our gardens from too much water. If there has been a lot of rainfall in your area, a fungus called blight may occur. Blight can occur early in the tomato season or late in the season. If your leaves are turning yellow and falling off, at the beginning of the season, this would be considered early blight. Late blight causes blue-gray spots and the fruit will fall down. This devasting effect of the fungal spores will spread quickly through the garden. This can happen with prolonged heat followed by prolonged rain.
To treat blight organically, copper fungicide can be applied early on. Follow the directions on the package. If found too late, the solution to blight is to pull the affected plant of the garden before it spreads to the rest of the plants.
How can you avoid blight in your garden? If you take the following proactive steps, it can reduce the chances of blight.
- Inspect your plants early and often for signs of spots on shoots or leaves dropping.
- Apply mulch around the base of each plant. If blight has been found, remove the mulch around the base as spores may have spread to the mulch.
- Allow space and air flow around each plant.
- Look for blight resistant varieties of tomato plants.
- Use drip irrigation to keep the leaves dry.
Mother nature can give gardeners a challenge with excessive heat or prolonged rain. The best advice is to inspect your plants regularly looking for any signs of trouble. If you find evidence of tomato blossom end rot or blight, then you need to fix the problem quickly.
The cure for tomato blossom end rot is to have a watering schedule that gives your plants 3″ of water a week. This can be done by watering every other day using drip irrigation for an extended period of time (an hour is recommended). If your tomatoes are in a container, use one gallon of water a day, introduce slowly throughout the day or half in the morning and a half at night.
The cure for early and late blight is to inspect your plants daily after prolong rains. If you find a sprout or leaf that looks like our feature picture you’ll need to move fast. You can treat your garden organically to solve the problem. Treat with a copper fungicide and remove any plants you have found with blight. Do not compost these plants. If possible burn the plant. This can be devasting to your garden so you will need to act fast.
You might also like 5 Ways to Help your Veggie Plants beat the Heat.