Photo: Jean Faucett (Shutterstock)
It’s the time of year in many places in North America where squash and tomato plants are beginning to flower and fruit. It’s exciting for gardeners to see the results of their labors, but sometimes the flowers begin to shrivel and the end of the squash or tomato is brown, looking like they’re only partially formed. It can ruin a whole crop of beautiful home-grown squash or tomatoes, but fortunately there are solutions and they’re probably simpler than you think.
What is blossom end rot?
Blossom end rot is a condition that causes tomatoes and squash to rot on the plant before it’s fully formed. This malady is caused by a calcium deficiency and can be remedied by changing the PH in the soil, using a calcium-rich fertilizer, or using a calcium-rich foliar spray. Regular watering is also important, especially when it comes to heirloom tomato varieties, as they tend to be more prone to blossom end rot.
You can use one of those methods to treat a struggling garden plant and set it back on a path to success. And if you catch the condition early enough, you can still have a well-yielding plant by following a few more steps.
Water your garden evenly
One of the most common causes of blossom end rot can be irregular watering. If the roots aren’t getting a consistent source of water, this can lead to absorption problems and cause calcium deficiency. If that’s your culprit, you can consider a soaker hose or a drip irrigation system that will provide your plant with an even amount of moisture and allow the soil to stay damp down near the roots of your plants. In general, when it’s very hot outside, watering in the evening is a good idea. In cooler weather, you should water first thing in the morning because watering in the evening can encourage fungus and slugs.
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