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Calcuim for Tomatoes?

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Calcuim for Tomatoes?

Postby Venice » May 22, 2008 8:59 am

Ok so this year I was saving up my eggshells. Well I guess I hadn't told hubby about it, and when he took the garbage out, whooops there went the eggshells, ahhaha. So now I want to plant tomorrow or so and was wondering what else I should use. I don't have any calcuim tablets or powdered milk.

I've never used anything before, but know it can prevent bottom end rot, which I've never really had a problem with, but an oz of provention...well you know.

anyway suggestions are welcome.

Ven
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Postby Durgan » May 22, 2008 10:29 am

Most tomatoe problems are associated with watering either by human hand or the natural rain, assuming the proper plant nutrients are available.

Calclium deficiency in the tomato plant is usually not lack of calcium in the soil but the take-up system of the plant. Excessive water can upset the plants digestive system, as can too little.

That said and done, I do place a calcium pill in the soil, while the tomatoes are in the pots. Whether this is effective or not I am not sure, but it makes me feel better. I might add that peas need calcium, and I do add a pill to the seed area when planting peas. Effective?

Tomatoe plants prefer even moisture, and this is sometimes difficult to determine, since one never knows how much moisture is actually getting to the root area. You throw the dice and take your chances.

This year I mulched heavily, and will sort of compare to last year, when I didn't mulch the tomato plants.
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Postby agedgardener2 » May 22, 2008 10:47 am

I had neighbor who used powdered milk on his tomatoes used to say he milked the tomatoes
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Postby Eeyore » May 22, 2008 12:23 pm

Durgan is right about the calcium for tomatoes. Usually the soil has enough calcium in it but the roots can't take it up. Last year was a bad year for BER. It seems everybody had it to some extent. I've also heard that the temperature of the soil affects the uptake of calcium too so if the spring is cold when the fruit is setting it affects the tomatoes.
Try watering with Epsom Salts, that should improve the nutrient uptake from the soil.
Lyn
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Just wondering.....

Postby evepet » May 22, 2008 1:22 pm

Is it a good idea in general to water plants occasionally with epsom salts? Plants in containers too? I believe I read somewhere here about putting 1 tablespoon? of epsom salts in about a quart of regular water? Is that correct? And I'm assuming we're talking normal epsom salts.... the kind that we like to soak our tired bones in after a heavy day of gardening activity??? :)
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Postby Eeyore » May 22, 2008 2:48 pm

It's the exact same stuff. Probably cheaper to buy in the pharmacy too.

http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/

Here's the link to the site. It tells you how much to apply to the plants.
Lyn
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Postby Eeyore » May 22, 2008 2:53 pm

Ven - here's an article on preventing BER. The author is Grant Wood form the U of Saskachewan

Blossom-End Rot of Tomatoes

GardenLine | Vegetables | Blossom-End Rot of Tomatoes
Grant Wood

A bad case of blossom-end rot, a condition that can ruin otherwise succulent, mouth watering, home-grown tomatoes, caused one of our callers to comment: "the more you want a vegetable, the more likely something will go wrong with it." A little understanding, though, can go a long way in helping to avoid the problem.

Symptoms: The first symptom is a water-soaked area at the blossom end (opposite the stem end) of the fruit. Blossom-end rot begins when the fruit is about half grown, and continues to develop as the fruit matures. The affected area gradually turns brownish-black and shrivels, leaving a leathery, dry, sunken dark area. With time the rotted area often becomes soft; this is caused by fungal organisms that attack after the rot begins. Blossom-end rot often affects only a small portion of the fruit, but in severe cases, almost the entire fruit is destroyed.

Associated with blossom-end rot is the condition called blackheart, which is the darkening of the flesh inside th fruit, at the blossom end. Blackheart can occur without the other symptoms of blossom-end rot, but is caused by the same environmental conditions. The first fruit formed in the spring are more likely to be affected than later developing fruit. Some varieties, namely the smaller fruited varieties seem not to be as readily affected, as the larger fruited varieties.

Cause: The actual cause of the dry rot is a calcium deficiency i the blossom end of the fruit. A lack of calcium in the soil however, is usually not the problem in Saskatchewan gardens. There are numerous other factors which can lead to this condition. They are as follows:

- irregular fluctuations in moisture levels. Blossom-end rot is worse when excess moisture is followed by dry conditions, such as was experienced this year. Sandy soils tend to show the condition worse than loams or clays, because they dry faster.

- rapidly growing plants are often more affected because rapid growth requires an abundant supply of calcium and water. The calcium is dissolved in the water, and thus if water is deficient, so is the calcium. Calcium is used in the cell walls, and when deficient leads to the breakdown of the cells and tissues. The shrivelling and drying of the blossom end is caused by a lack of water getting to that area.

- high levels of certain nutrients, mainly nitrogen and potassium can also stimulate blossom-end rot. Nitrogen is often in excess in home gardens, thus encouraging rapid growth, and an enhanced chance of the disorder. Potassium is high in most Saskatchewan soils, but is in a form that is not readily available to plants, therefore it is doubtful that this leads to the problems.

- transplanting tomatoes into cold soils may lead to a calcium deficiency, because the organisms that convert the calcium from the unavailable to available form are not active in the cold soils. As the soil warms, the organisms become more active, and thus more calcium is available.

- deep tillage around the plants will damage the roots, and thus prevent uptake of water. This in turn leads to the calcium deficiency in the fruit.

Control: There are a number of procedures to follow that can control this disorder. They are as follows:

- we do not recommend applying calcium to the soil, because it is seldom deficient in the soil. Salinity is caused by an excess amount of salts in the soil, calcium being one of these salts. An excess of calcium, can alter the soil making it less desirable for growing most plants.

- adequate, but not excess amounts of water are desirable. Do not let the soil dry excessively between waterings, as this stimulates blossom-end rot. A steady supply of water is very important. Remember that near by trees take a lot of water from the garden.

- mulching the plants will help ensure the steady supply of water. Dry grass clippings (watch herbicide use on lawn) or finely ground up leaf litter make excellent organic mulches. These should be applied in early July after the plants have had a good chance to grow, but before the fruit is half mature.

- shallow frequent tilling will control weeds without damaging the root system of the tomatoes.

- adequate but not excess nitrogen is important. Excess nitrogen will encourage rapid growth, which encourages the disorder.

- avoid stress to the transplants when they go into the garden. Harden the transplants off adequately, and do not plant into cold soil. Encourage steady growth during the year, but not excess growth.

Wood was an instructor with the Department of Horticulture Science. This column is provided as a service by the Extension Division and the Department of Horticulture Science, University of Saskatchewan.
Sustainable horticultural information, offered free of charge to the public with the support of the University of Saskatchewan Extension Division, the Department of Plant Sciences and the Provincial Government.
Lyn
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Postby evepet » May 22, 2008 5:57 pm

Eeyore wrote:It's the exact same stuff. Probably cheaper to buy in the pharmacy too.

http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/

Here's the link to the site. It tells you how much to apply to the plants.


Thx Lyn. :)
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Re: Calcuim for Tomatoes?

Postby Big Smile » May 22, 2008 6:22 pm

Venice wrote:Ok so this year I was saving up my eggshells. Well I guess I hadn't told hubby about it, and when he took the garbage out, whooops there went the eggshells, ahhaha. So now I want to plant tomorrow or so and was wondering what else I should use. I don't have any calcuim tablets or powdered milk.

I've never used anything before, but know it can prevent bottom end rot, which I've never really had a problem with, but an oz of provention...well you know.

anyway suggestions are welcome.

Ven



Venice , use Epsom salt , Mix 2 tablespoons in the soil when you plant tomatoes.

Epsom salt is also good for flowers , especially Roses.

Clara
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Postby Venice » May 22, 2008 7:36 pm

ok thanks everyone.

Ya I just bought a big jug of Epsom salts. I've used it before on my hibiscus and roses, but not my Toms. I will this year though.

I'm going to start planting tomorrow!!!! whohoohoooooo.

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