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Post  PeggyC on 4/26/2010, 7:49 pm

last year was my first year with SFG boxes. My tomatoes all got blossom end rot, as far as googling can diagnose it.

anyone know where I probably went wrong with my mix? it was pretty perfectly balanced according to Mel's recipe, and my composts were steer manure, mushroom, another manure, some sort of "compost" and no idea what else. It was all in the "blog" part of the old forums from last year.

this link gives possible solutions, just wondering if there's anything to know for when I set up more boxes in the future. thanks

It will be a few more weeks before plants go in the ground here, so I have time to make soil amendments still for this season.


http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/tomato/2000082444023571.html
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Post  boffer on 4/26/2010, 10:35 pm

There seems to be a general consensus that BER is caused by lack of calcium. But nobody seems to be sure if that is caused by a soil deficiency, drought stress, transplant stress, or a difficult life as a child.

Popular backyard wisdom is to put 6 crushed egg shells or 1/4 C powdered milk in the hole when planting tomatoes for a calcium vitamin boost. Does it work? It all depends who you talk to and who you want to believe.

Commercial greenhouses still have problems with BER, and it costs them money to lose fruit. If there were a definitive solution, they would be using it.

I read that it's not uncommon for the first couple of fruits on each plant to develop it. That is what I have experienced. If the spot is not too big, it can be cut off and the rest of the tomato can be eaten.
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Post  PeggyC on 4/26/2010, 11:00 pm

well I guess I've found a use for that box of dry milk in the cupboard... and I'm glad to have used egg shells as planters for my seedlings. thanks Boffer. We did eat quite a few half-roma's last year after trimming off the ugly.
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Post  plb on 4/27/2010, 8:04 am

Another thing to remember is that even if your mix is perfectly fine, and contains the right amount of calcium, your tomato plants won't be able to absorb it if they're not watered enough. If the soil frequently dries up between waterings, you're more likely to get blossom end rot. You might have to water the plants more than once a day if it's very hot... I read somewhere that smaller tomatoes are less likely to develop blossom end rot, so maybe growing at least some cherry tomatoes can be an "insurance policy"...
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Post  lisaphoto on 4/27/2010, 8:26 am

Does it have to be powdered milk, or can you use liquid?
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Post  Retired Member 1 on 4/27/2010, 8:48 am

When I've gotten blossom end rot in the past, I've crushed up several of the calcium supplements I use, mixed with a gallon of water and watered the plants with it. It has worked every time.

About using powdered milk, I think the powder would last longer in the soil than fresh and would be more concentrated. But that is strictly my opinion -- I have no experience at using milk.
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Post  chocolatepop on 4/27/2010, 8:56 am

I would probably try a calcium powder or liquid over the egg because I would think the egg would take a long time to biodegrad/compost and may not help this current year but would possibly help next year as the egg shells are broken down.

Just a thought.
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Post  PeggyC on 5/22/2010, 4:49 pm

thanks all! It's finally getting warm enough for me to start thinking through all this again. I came on to find the link to the garden lay out website, and then saw the link for the iphone App, and now see bad reviews on the app, so am looking for more info on that. random, I know, but that's how I work. anyway, back to the original purpose of coming on here!!!
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