[Market-farming] blossom end rot

Bill Shoemaker wshoemak at inil.com
Fri May 9 12:05:35 EDT 2003

Nothing to forgive Liz. Great explanation!


>Hey Joan, I dreamed about BER all night.
>The reason I asked is I'm working on an article for the website on
>trellising tomatoes.  In my research, I've come across umpteen sources that
>quote the statement, "Trellising increases the incidence of BER," which
>me scratch my head because I've always believed BER is caused by a lack of
>calcium.  Boost the calcium, bye-bye BER.  How can trellising effect
>in the soil??
>Well, not so fast.  Come to find out it's caused by several factors, and
>only way to determine which factor is causing your BER is to work through
>the list.
>Trellising in & of itself does not cause BER.  Trellising DOES disturb the
>roots, which sets up a domino effect of cutting off water intake to the
>plant, which cuts off calcium absorption.  Since so much water is
>from the leaves, thus a loss of calcium for the fruit, more calcium must be
>applied...if that's the cause.
>(Forgive me Bill Shoemaker for explaining this in my layman's terms!!)
>But the most important thing I learned, BER can also be caused by several
>things that inhibit consistent water flow, hence calcium availability to
>fruit.  Excessive salts in the ground (too much fertilizer), hot weather,
>variable water supply (uneven irrigation, drought, too much water ((roots
>standing in water)), etc), disturbing the roots when cultivating, pruning,
>or even the variety of tomato--some are more predisposed to having it.
>So, even though supplying enough calcium is important, regulating moisture,
>so the calcium can be utilized by the plant is just as important.
>As for the boron, I don't know about that.
>Joel Gruver, soil scientist with NC State told me applying gypsum, which is
>organic allowable, at a rate of 300 lbs per acre (assuming avg 4300 plants
>per acre), or 7 lbs per hundred plants will supply all the calcium needs of
>the tomato if that's lacking.  A soil test will confirm if that's needed.
>Liz Pike
>Laughingbrook Farm
>Westfield NC
>Market-farming mailing list
>Market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
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