What is your question for a Master Gardener?
This question was submitted by Kathy and answered by Advanced Master Gardener Bruce.
I’ve been trying to grow tomatoes for years but something always happens! My plants have looked very healthy so far but today I’ve noticed several tomatoes with what looks like blossom end rot but on the SIDE of the tomatoes. None of the black spots are on the actual bottom. I’m so sad! I‘m hoping this is a problem I can correct!
Hi Kathy, thanks for contacting us with your question with black spots on your tomatoes. You mentioned it looked like blossom end rot and you are entirely correct. It is blossom end rot which usually shows up on the end but can develop on other areas of the tomato. It is caused by a calcium deficiency either in the soil or insufficient moisture to transfer the calcium from the soil to the tomato. Remedies include:
Mulching around your tomato plants to help with water retention
Monitor soil moisture and water when necessary, 1 to 1 & 1/2 inches a week. And be sure to water from the plant bottom to help minimize disease.
Use a fertilizer high in superphosphate like a 4-12-4 or 5-20-5. Too much nitrogen can limit the uptake of calcium.
Having your soil tested so any problems can be fixed at the beginning of the season.
The rot is fairly common this year. Rain has not been consistent, we have had some very hot weather early in the season, and it seems to have been quite windy which also helps dry out the soil. You should be back to growing delicious tomatoes in no time once the moisture level is consistent. Let us know how your tomatoes are doing.