ACCORDING TO MY SCIENTIFIC FACEBOOK FOCUS GROUP (kidding, but four-dozen people did reply to my question about how their plants were doing) it’s generally a thumb’s-up tomato year so far. But with multiple hot, dry spells here (even though I have been watering!), I keep worrying about the dreaded blossom end rot. And here it comes—though hopefully not to stay.
Blossom end rot, which (just as it sounds) is a rotting of the fruit that begins as a watery spot on the blossom end, also affects peppers and eggplants. It’s a physiologic disorder—not something caused by a virus or fungus or bacteria, like so many other tomato ailments, but rather by physical stressors that prevent the fruit from taking up enough Calcium to come to ripeness in prime condition.
The watery spot transitions to a dry, sunken lesion (it looks as good as it sounds, above, served up on a non-silver spoon).
Why the deficiency of Calcium, though? What did I do wrong? Various factors can bring it about, including soil that suddenly goes dry (as in a fierce heatwave), excessive fluctuations in soil moisture, over-application of high-Nitrogen fertilizers (not guilty!), root-system damage, or the excess of other soil salts, among other causes.
I don’t see many more affected fruit—yet.
Like many of my Facebook friends (join us there?) from the Finger Lakes to Tucson, Michigan to Massachusetts, I do see this, though: generally late ripening. I’m just now starting to get my first tomatoes, despite all the heat (which actually can slow down fruit set, as counter-intuitive as that may seem with a heat-loving crop).
And so I wait for enough fruits for that thrilling first pot of sauce. What about you? What’s the view into your slice of tomato life?
(Want more tomato dish? All my tomato posts–wisdom, whimsy and even recipes–are collected here.)