Question: What can I do about the bottom rot on my Roma tomatoes?
Answer: Bottom rot or blossom end rot can be the result of a mineral deficiency or unhealthy soil in general. Both relate to water not moving properly through the plants. Gardeners use various techniques to solve the problem. Some mix about a tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water and drench around the plants before or after planting. Other gardeners swear by adding a handful of earthworm castings or soft rock phosphate to the holes at planting time. Use a basic program of organic fertilizers, rock mineral products, and microbe stimulators (such as molasses and cornmeal) every year, and avoid all products that hurt the life in the soil. Mulching properly is also part of the solution. Use partially completed compost or shredded native tree trimmings. Avoid pine bark, cypress, rubber, dyed wood products, plastic barriers, and other synthetic products. Cover the bare soil around the plants, but don’t pile mulch onto the stems of plants. Spraying and drenching the soil with compost tea monthly will also help solve the problem. Finally, watering properly is critical. Water thoroughly and deeply, and then wait as long as possible before watering again; the exact timing will vary by climate and soil type. Waiting until just before the plants start to wilt is ideal.
-Howard Garrett, AKA “The Dirt Doctor”
If you’d like to present a question for our expert panel to answer in print, email your question to Letters@HeirloomGardener.com with the subject line “sage advice.”
Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!LEARN MORE