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Old 05-31-2011, 09:38 PM
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I've got little dime and quarter sized tomatoes happening. Put out fifty tomato plants, several different varieties, and I am trying to be proactive about preventing BER this season.

Got a few questions:

1 - Has anyone found a good source of calcium that is easily absorbed by tomatoes?

2 - Anyone ever used Epsom Salts?

3 - I've heard everything from low-fat powdered milk to busting up gypsum from dry wall and mixing it with water. Anyone ever tried anything along those lines that worked?

4 - I've heard that liming in advance helps - but I forgot to do that this year. Also heard that planting with a Tums or Rolaids or egg shells helps ... but I did not do that either.

What are your tomato growing secrets?

I'm looking for something to side dress with.

Oh yeah, I've got a ton of peppers out too and should treat them basically the same as the tomatoes - right?
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:48 PM
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You need a foliar calcium spray. Most garden stores will have one that you mix maybe three tablespoons in a gallon of water and apply it with something like a windex bottle. The stuff sells under different names, usually something like "stop rot" or "no-rot" or some such. The foliar applied stuff works better for me than any of the other remedies. That and a good fungicide spray should put your 'maters in good shape.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:50 PM
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I use lime to provide calcium for the soil. It's extremely cheap and my soil tends to be acidic.

Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate. If your plants are yellow epsom salts may help. I use green sand in my fertrilizer mix and that provides magnesium and potasium.

Some folk here throw their egg shells in the compost heap to help provide calcium, but I've found that they're pretty insoluble though. Gypsum can provide calcium I don't know how it reacts with soil as it's ph neutral and probably not very reactive.

I've never had blossom end rot with peppers,
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:53 PM
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As I plant each tomato plant, I place a couple of tsp (or a BIG pinch) of Epsom salts in the hole before I set the plant. I then bury the plant as deep as possible, water it really well. The calcium thing works for blossom end rot, you can pick up some at Lowe's, Home Depot, or even Walmart, etc. Spray the plants with it as the tomatoes start to develop. I also use diatomaceous earth around the plants, and especially the peppers, to deter slugs. It is cheap, you don't have to use food grade, though it is cheap. It is great for other things too, like de-worming pets, even people. I bought 50 lbs of it over the internet, it goes a long way. Hope this helps. I have heard of the use of old wallboard, not sure if it works. BTW, the tomatoes LOVE lots of water, will grow large luxurious and bear well if you keep them watered.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:55 PM
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If you are experienceing rot or mold try scratching in horticultural corn gluten meal into the soil it will help get rid of fungal diseases on most plants.

If you can't find the corn gluten meal try just regular corn meal.
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:45 AM
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All good info. I would add that if you are growing in containers, do not let them dry out completely. Repeated drying out and soaking will also cause blossom end rot.
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:45 AM
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I use epsom salts but they aren't effective for blossom end rot. I use gypsum too, but it isn't a good source of calcium to the plant. What it does is replace the sodium bond in clay with calcium instead, making the clay break down. Both are useful in gardens, but neither address blossom end rot.

Our soil tends to be warm here, so if there's enough calcium and not too much nitrogen, it isn't usually a problem. But our soil being clay, tends to bind calcium and gets too wet easily. This can cause it. As for preventing it, at least here, low nitrogen in the soil is helpful. Same with even moisture.

I don't know of a natural way to correct it. You can get calcium sprays from the store that works. If you have recurrant problems with it, I'd try to address it at the soil first. But it might be wise to stock up on the sprays just in case.
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:39 PM
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Thanks y'all. Much appreciated. Pretty much what I already knew and what I thought - but thanks for reinforcing it for me ladies and gents. I think I am going to spray with a calcium nitrate solution.
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