Blossom end rot on my tomatos

Hello (Newsgroup, Betzi, Judy ...)
I planted two tomato plants in 5 gallon buckets this year. Soil is finished compost with some sandy dirt from the yard. The plants were one "yellow jelly" and one "early cascade."
Both plants are looking great and are covered with tomatos. I've eaten a few yellow jelly's, and I see that a couple of the early cascades are beginning to turn color.
But this morning I noticed blossom end rot on some of the fruit. It's been hot in Albuquerque lately (record breaking temps in high 90's). I've been watering heavily each morning but not later in the day.
So I'm wondering what I've done wrong. Should I water twice a day? Am I watering too much? It does seem that the plant is using the amount that I'm giving it. Any other ideas?
Thanks,
Susan
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Sax Maam wrote:

Blossom end rot is actually a calcium deficiency caused by improper watering. Without constant moisture, the roots can't absorb enough calcium from the soil and during the fruiting stage, this causes the rot.
I would recommend consistent light waterings over a single heavy one. I also grow tomatoes in containers and I ensure the soil is always moist to the touch (not soaking, not crusty dry). If the soil breaks away from the sides or looks dry, then watering is not consistent enough. You might consider adding some potting soil or peat to your pots next year. It helps retain water very well. Also, don't reuse the same soil next year.
The good news...you can still eat the tomato. Just cut off the affected portion.
..
Zone 5a in Canada's Far East
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Hi,
So ... I've actually been completely consistent with my watering (amazing for me, but so far it's true) but it sounds as though the plants might be getting too dry later in the day. And maybe too wet in the morning? Does this sound like a good explanation?
I can still add some potting soil at the top of the pots ... there's a couple of inches that aren't filled with dirt.
About reusing soil: What do you think of adding that dirt back to my compost pile in the fall?
Susan
cloud dreamer wrote:

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Sax Maam wrote:

Absolutely. Maybe a little of both. Better to water evenly than the extremes.

It certainly wouldn't hurt. Potting soil and peat have a lot of nutrients to add as well. The sand that you added wouldn't retain the water at all and depending what is in the compost, it may not be retaining enough water for a container plant. Tomatoes don't mind the extra soil and after you add it, add mulch to the top. It'll help retain moisture and also ensure water doesn't splash the soil on the leaves (which is how some disease develops).

I never add the soil from my container potatoes or tomatoes to the compost or to my raised beds. They could contain a number of soil-borne diseases that both plants are famous for. I add the soil to my lawn. The grass especially loves old potato soil.
The same applies to tomato and potato plants. I don't add those to the compost either. They will also pass on disease to anything in the same family that is planted with that compost. (Unless you have a really hot compost pile and can be assured that composted tomato or potato soil/plant parts will not be used in future potato/tomato beds/containers).
..
Zone 5a in Canada's Far East
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Thank you for _not_ suggesting calcium be added to the soil.
While poor calcium uptake is responsible for BER, adding more to the soil ain/t the solution. Like you said, maintaining proper is key.
In my experience, BER happens early in the season and goes away quickly on its own.
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On Wed, 07 Jun 2006 07:57:03 -0600, Sax Maam

Cloud Dreamer took the words right out of my mouth. Expect losses of 50% or higher.
See http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/hil-28-d.html for the techie details. I hate, Hate, HATE that disease. -- Gardening Zones Canada Zone 5a United States Zone 3a
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Ah ... thanks for the link.
I guess for now I'll mulch the soil and switch to two waterings a day, testing for moisture with my fingers. The soil might be too rich. I wonder if I should add lime or wait and see.
Opinions about that?
Susan
Jim Carter wrote:

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Sax Maam wrote:

See if you can find a calcium chloride spray for tomatoes. IIRC, one brand is Security "Stop Rot". Mix it up in a sprinkling can according to the directions and water the plants with it, getting it all over the leaves. It won't help the fruits that already have BER but should help prevent more from getting it.
A dose of Epsom salts also might help. Epsom salts contains magnesium, which works synergistically with calcium.
Best regards, Bob
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On Wed, 07 Jun 2006 10:06:43 -0600, Sax Maam

Let the soil pH be your guide. It is likely too high. -- Gardening Zones Canada Zone 5a United States Zone 3a
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