Friday, July 29, 2011

Spot of bother

Why did she pick these tomatoes while green? they ask. Tsk.

That's why! she says, and gnashes her teeth. 

Blossom end rot. *&%%$!!*^%!

Cherry tomatoes are fine. Truth is, I am not an experienced tomato grower. I'm more a perennial, herb, shrub and fruit sort of person. Ahem. Yes, I know. Tomatoes are fruit. Picky, picky fruit.

Fruit bad, so no picky!

Funny thing is, I started this 'farm' last July - very late to start anything, I thought, apologetically.  And I was harvesting produce at about the same time, last year. Except that this year I planted in...April? March (seeds)...Lesson. Not worth it. I understand why I did  it. I couldn't wait! I was itching to start.

The aubergine (eggplant, OK) are very happy. These are growing in my milk crates lined with plastic bags with holes punched  in the bottom. Wonderful containers.

I have four Sugar Baby watermelons and this one is about bowling ball size (I have never been bowling). I do not have a single Charentais melon. I still remember the hope, the pride, the anticipation of sweet melons when planting out those precociously successful seedlings (the watermelons took forever and sickened with cold). I will remove them next week and plant something else. 

'Thing' wrestles with the cucumber. I just want to see how big it can get. They have produced very little and every third one is more bitter than the waters at Marah.

And later we are off to Fire Island for a short weekend. I look forward to seeing what the beach plums and wild cherries are doing in the Sunken Forest. I have been threatened with paddle board lessons. We get to ride on another ferry. I like boats.

Have a good weekend, wherever you are, whatever you do.


  1. I've had blossom end rot on 70 percent of my young (1-2 inch) plum tomatoes, and on two of three striped germans. Hmm. All else, no BER. The only thing that I can conclude is that these plants were more stressed than the others.

    A miserable disappointment though. Love the sunken forest. Enjoy -a good beach weekend!

  2. I read somewhere that it's calcium, provided early in the tomato plant's cycle, that prevents blossom end rot. I supplied the calcium this year, and -- sure enough -- no rot. But, that could just be dumb luck. The birds tried to even things out and enjoyed dipping their beaks into the tomatoes, just as they passed from not quite ripe to ripe.

  3. In container tomatoes BER is very common - caused by inherent soil moisture fluctuation typical of these plants that have high evapotranspiration rates (they suck huge amounts of water from teh soil). This in turn causes the calcium deficiency issues (assuming you don't have wildly problematic soil which would also cause it).
    My solutions to prevent drying out (that allow you to avoid watering all the time):
    Go for the biggest pot you can
    Avoid pretty unglazed clay pots or waterproof them on the inside to prevent rapid drying of soil.
    Mulch like crazy - up to 15cm thick isn't overkill. I use long grass clippings - more effective than bark mulches, plus they break down to add organic matter to soil and don't absorb N from soil like bark can.
    Some nice additional info here:

  4. lost my entire planting last season to ber. made a lovely amount of green tomato chutney, however. this year they got 4 treatments of 'stop-rot'.

  5. The beady sheep!

    My weekend will have to be spent "doing something to the lemon tree."
    Needing a lemon for our dinner...I found huge fruits all over the place. They are softball-sized and just keep coming.

    (will there be pics of paddle boarding?)

  6. As bad as your crop is, ours is even worse....stilted, twisted vegetables.

    As grown by the witch in Hansel and Gretel.

    I'm going to pull up the garden and cover my house in candy.

    xo jane

  7. Can you at least make fried green tomatoes? Were the tomatoes started form seed or from plants?

    Sounds like you have some good advice from commenters here.

  8. Calcium deficiency and inconsistent watering would cause that here.

  9. That is one big cucumber! Some of my San Marzano seem to have blossom end rot. Thankfully only part of the plant is affected.
    Your strawberries are doing extremely well. Even the runners are producing fruit.
    Hope you are enjoying your weekend away!

  10. Thanks everyone for the diagnoses and solutions - Frank had ID'd the problem for me, but now I know to make green tomato chutney and fried green tomatoes. Excellent idea, petoskystone and Pam.

    Dinahmow - pictures of me falling off it repeatedly, perhaps! :-)


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