How to Banish Blossom Rot From Your Tomato Garden

How to Banish Blossom Rot From Your Tomato GardenBlossom rot, or blossom end rot, is a common problem encountered by professional and back yard tomato gardeners.

You may be asking what is blossom rot?

It is a disease that that can be identified by a dark, rotten spot at the blossom end of developing tomatoes.

But no need to despair, as there are techniques you can use to counter act blossom rot before it even starts.

It is pertinent that you follow through with the methods, because once the end rot appears on an individual fruit, there is no way to cure the affected tomato.

You can cut away the rotted portion of the tomato after you harvest it and safely eat the portion that was not affected, but it is best to eliminate the problem before it reaches that point.

How To Prevent Tomato Blossom Rot

Let’s examine these questions:

  1. How does blossom rot start?
  2. How can I prevent it from showing up in the first place?

Blossom end rot is a physiological affliction of the tomato plant. Initial symptoms can  and consist of small, light brown flecks and lesions occur initially on green fruit that are clustered on the blossom end of the developing fruit.

As the disorder worsens, a circular to oblong, dark brown, firm lesion develops on the blossom end.

If blossom rot is left unchecked, you can lose a large portion of your entire tomato crop to this condition.

What causes blossom end rot is the plants deficiency in calcium.

Adequate amounts of calcium are needed in order for tomato plants to produce their fruit properly.

Even if you have plenty of calcium in your soil, your plants may not be able to effectively absorb it for a number of reasons. When this occurs, your plants are at risk of contracting blossom rot.


Now to answer the question of how to prevent blossom rot in the first place?

To prevent blossom end rot is making sure your plants have getting enough calcium and are able to absorb enough of the mineral.

soil test kitBefore planting your tomatoes, be sure to have your soil tested or do it yourself with an inexpensive soil testing kit.

Ideally, your soil should be slightly acidic, with a pH somewhere running between 6.2 to 6.8.

The plants also need a constant supply of major and minor plant nutrients as well (Bonnie Plants).

To start, if your soil is too acidic, add some limestone to increase the pH.

Use caution when adding this soil amendment, because adding too much will cause the soil too be, to alkaline.

If this occurs, or if your soil is naturally alkaline, you can amend it with rich organic matter, elemental sulfur or an acidifying fertilizer, such as ammonium sulfate.

It can be very challenging to lower soil pH, however, because limestone in the ground is continually dissolving.

If you live in an area where alkaline soil is a fact of life, you may want to build raised beds to create a more favorable environment that tomato plants will thrive and produce tasty fruits.

water base of tomato plant

Image Credit: HGTV – Garden

Once your soil is at the optimum pH level, you’ll want to ensure your plants are receiving adequate moisture.

Optimal tomato growth requires regular and deep watering, so that water gets all the way down to the entire root system.

Make sure your plants are receiving 1 to 2 inches of water weekly, and more if a warm spell comes on.

To reduce the chance of foliar diseases, water the base of tomato plants and avoid getting water on the leaves, especially if you’re watering in the evening.

Blossom end rot will usually occur at the start of the season as the first fruits appear.

If you notice your tomatoes are showing possible signs of blossom rot, make sure your plants are watered deeply every 4 to 5 days. If it is extremely hot in your area, water them even more frequently.

To determine when it is time to water your plants, dig down 3 or 4 inches into the soil. If the soil is moist, wait 24 hours and check again. When the soil at that level is dry, it is time to water again.

seaweed extractFinally, many tomato gardeners also swear by liquid kelp (seaweed) extract as a way to combat blossom rot.

Sea Kelp contains a natural substance you can use to condition soil, and it can contain more than 70 vitamins, minerals and enzymes essential to the health your tomato plants.

The extract and fertilizer are readily available in local garden centers, large home improvement stores or via online retailers. You may want to test it out on part of your garden to see how it works for you.

Although blossom rot can be a garden dilemma, it is time will spent in preparation and planning your tomato garden, which will go a long ways towards eradicating blossom end rot from your garden.

Header Article Image Credit: Durham County Master Gardener Volunteer Program

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Keeping Your Family Safe with a Reliable Meat Thermometer

Meat Thermometer

Meat thermometers can do two things for you.  They can prevent you from overcooking and drying out your foods as well as prevent you from spending fortunes in medical expenses.

Government health regulations are very particular when it comes to foods being prepared at certain temperatures.  Those certain temperatures are set to ensure that no one eating the foods prepared is going to become ill from being undercooked.  It is especially important in facilities that prepare meals for numerous people.

But for you and your family it is just as important that because it is hitting home.  Using a meat thermometer is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that everyone is safe to eat the foods prepared in your home.

There are two types of thermometers that can be used.  One that you leave in the meat while cooking and the other you stick it in the meat and take an instant read temperature.

Some thermometers are digital, some have voice responses that speak to you and then there are those that will tell you the temperature with a hand remote from 300 feet away.  The gadgets of convenience are not nearly as important as the timely accuracy that you are really wanting.

Let’s take a look at several thermometers and discover which are best at giving you the quickest accurate readings.  As well you’ll want to know which thermometers can take a wide range reading.  Meaning, how well it does in going from 0 to 450 degrees.

We won’t compare prices because most meat thermometers are $30 or less.  If you find higher priced thermometers it will because it has added bells and whistles like, opening the oven door for you.  But remember, that’s not what’s important when it comes to being safe.

Thermometer Performance Reviews



Reading Time


Overall Score Consumer Reports /100

Overall Score Amazon /5

Polder 360 Dual Probe


Very Good




Taylor Weekend Warrior 806

Very Good












Taylor Classic 1470

Very Good





Maverick ET 64


Very Good




Polder THM-372


Very Good




Oxo 1051105






Kitchen Aid SS

Very Good





Taylor Connoisseur 501

Very Good





There is wide range in the score variances and quite a difference in ratings between Consumers Reports and Amazon ratings. For your information the numbers from Consumers Reports comes from several rounds of testing, whereas the scoring system from Amazon is directly related to consumer feedback.

Some brands are instant check while others are leave in while cooking, but which type you choose is a matter of your preference. And that fact that some are digital and some aren’t, played no role in the ratings. That also is a matter of preference. Most importantly you now know which thermometers you are going to get the best readings from.

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