How much lime to treat blossom end rot?

I came to this group the first time yesterday, and immediately found the answer to my problem: what was causing the ends of my tomatoes to rot. Blossom end rot due to low calcium. So can I simply treat this by sprinkling lime in the soil? If so how much? It seems to be linked to nitrogen content, so will switching to low N fertilizer help by itself or will I need the lime treatment as well.
thanks for the great information
Hal
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Most of what I've read says that if you need to solve this problem quickly, use a liquid calcium supplement. A real garden center should have something like that. To minimize the likelihood of the problem NEXT season, add the limestone as you're putting the garden to sleep for the winter.

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Hmmm. A thought just came to mind as I read this. Do you suppose calcium suppliment tablets for people would work if disolved in water? Or a quart of milk poured around the base of the plant?
Bob S.
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Milk would be a bad idea. It's in the same category of things like cheese, egg shells and meat scraps - the stuff you don't put in your compost pile because they'll attract nuisance beasts.

quickly,
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The foremost problem is that calcium in of itself is not enough, it must be in a form that the plant can absorb through cell walls. I've heard good things about calcium suppliments but have never seen a study that would support their use. Part of the problem also goes to cost, gypsum for instance is cheap and easily taken up, calcium suppliments are not inexpensive and may or may not work.
susan
Bob S. wrote:

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HEY! How the heck have you been? Gee, it's been years since I've seen you post and believe it or not, I was just recently thinking about you.
Victoria
opined:

Need a good, cheap, knowledge expanding present for yourself or a friend? http://www.animaux.net/stern/present.html
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I draw a map each year of where I plant various vegetables in the garden. Each fall I plan where everything will be planted in the garden the following year. This allows me to work gypsum into the area where I plan on planting tomatoes the following spring. This gives the gypsum ample time to integrate into the soil before I plant the tomatoes the following year. Since I've been doing this, I have not had a case of blossom end rot. It works!
John
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I don't know much about much... but I've been reading a lot, and someone correct me if I'm wrong.
For a long time I've known that certain vitamins are needed to make other minerals and vitamins work. I'm going off on a branch into the human body now, but bear with me...
In the human body, there's a B vitamin called PABA, which is something like para-amino-benzoic-acid (or somesuch), and it prevents a head of hair from turning gray. One lady I was doing some work for, indicated that everyone in her family had gray hair, yet she had very beautiful dark brown hair that went down to her waste. She indicated that PABA helps in preventing gray hair, but she said, that PABA alone won't work, as it must be taken with other B vitamins (B6 and B12 ?). I just did a search on the Internet for these words:
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22gray+hair%22+PABA
and lo and behold, it's all over the Internet. I was told this by a lady in or about 1994.
And now back to plants... I've been reading that in order for Calcium to be absorbed, a plant needs magnesium as well. Epson salt is a recognized source of magnesium... and I've been messing with some tomato plants for the last three months but they all seem to be going wacky on me. They started off great though using epson salt sprayed on the plant and in the soil and using calcium tablets. And they've been hit by cabbage worms and couple other things. I left for a week and when I came back all their leaves had turned brown. I chopped off the leaves and some of their stems are turning brown, in fact I chopped off some stems as well. Now some leaves are growing back and they are hanging in there.
Some of my problems are that one particular tomato plant is in full sun (90 degree F temps +) 9 hours (++) each day, so it needs watering a couple times a day. Even when the plant is in the shade at later parts of the day, it's getting a lot of sun because the sun is reflecting off of white stepping stones.
It's been a month since I've given the plant calcium and epson salt and it's growing very very slowly now.
I don't know if it has blossom end rot or not. The leaves are coming in very green, but some of the stems are turning brown around the very ends of the tips.
It did appear that the epson salt and calcium tablets were working but there's some other things going on and I do plan on keeping this tomato plant going, but I've reached a point that has got me stumped.
I'm currently testing out some 1-2-1 fertilizer with trace amounts of other minerals, and have stopped with the calcium and epson salt.
--
Jim Carlock
http://www.votetoimpeach.org /
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Jim Carlock wrote:

Gosh. If it's on the Internet, it must be true.
(You didn't happen to notice that nearly all the links are to sites that sell the stuff, and aren't what most people would consider valid souces for medical, nutritional, or biological information.)

Sparying it on the foliage isn't going to do any good, and may even cause harm... expecially if this is something you're doing regularly. Moderation is a virtue. If you're going to go overboard doing anything, do it to correct a certain abnormal situation that you've confirmed exists. You wouldn't use an asthema inhailer if you had no respritory problems just because you've heard it really helps some people, would you?

There are often some mutants that'll stand up to an amazing amount of abuse.

Is it in a container? Is it in soil that's far too sandy?
My plants sit in a corner of the garden that has been getting 12+ hours of sunshine a day, and it's been 90+ most of the week. 103 yesterday, and 100 today. Two inches down, the soil is still moist from a soaking I gave them Tuesday morning. (And for those who like more scientific things than finger touch, the moisture meter shows everything is fine.
Of course I have mulch that slows the drying of the soil, and I use a soaker hose so I don't have to get the foliage wet. (Tomatoes do not like wet foliage.)

You don't have any fruits yet? How far north are you? How late did you get started?

Why do you think the epson salt and calcium tablets were working? Until you get some fruit, you wouldn't see any blossom end rot. And your story so far sounds like it wasn't working, and you nearly killed everything once already.

While I know some people fertilize their tomatoes, I haven't done so since the first year I tried growing tomatoes in a container on my patio years and years ago. I didn't get a single fruit that year, but I had some impressive foliage. Now that I have a house and a real garden, I make sure that my vegetable garden gets a big helping of shredded leaves each fall, and I've had a bumper crop each year without fertilizer. I did have one plant one year that had BER, but it was because of some irrigation problems in that corner that were fixed for the next year.
Good organically amended soil, and deep, infrequent watering has been good to me. If something goes wrong, treat that specific problem. Don't fiddle if you don't have to, and don't over-water.
--
Warren H.

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Epson

though
This is way too much Epsom salts. You want to apply it once in the spring and that is it. I give to roses but never to tomatoes.

Unless you have extremely sandy soil or are watering way too little at a time you are watering too often. My tomatoes are in full sun in 100+ temps and I water them only every third day. These are BIG plants. When the temps are below 90 I water once a week. You need to apply some organic mulch around the roots and water longer and more deeply and less often.

Could be burn from all the salts

I suggest you not worry about BER until you get fruit. It may not even have been a problem for you. Usually BER is a result of inconsistent water rather than lack of calcium in the soil. Plants only nedd smal amounts of calcium and magnesium.

Good , but forget the fertilizer also. I have never fertilized a tomato plant in 20 years

Emilie NorCal
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Blossom end rot is due to low calcium in the fruit. This can be caused by a couple of different things, not necessarily a calcium deficiency in the soil.
Calcium may be present in the soil, but its availability depends somewhat on the soil pH. Acidity reduces the calcium availability. High alkalinity also reduces the calcium availability, but to a lesser extent. Availability peaks around pH 7.5
A lack of consistent water could possibly reduce the transport of calcium through the plant.
I've observed that blossom end rot appears frequently on tomatoes that are rapidly growing. Apparently, the calcium is directed toward the growing point of the plant and so the calcium in the fruit is reduced. This situation corrects itself after a couple of weeks, so it's only the early fruit that have the problem.
I've tried foliar calcium sprays. They didn't do anything.
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I've read bad things about the calcium sprays - pretty much useless. Like shampoo with vitamins in it.
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water them with Epsom salts.
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We are but one thread within it.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote in message

for this kind of in season fixes wood ash is a lot better (acts far faster), and a much better fertilizer too (than lime). I give each plant a handful (maybe two heaping tbsp) at planting, and never had any BER.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com wrote in message

BER is more a problem of uneven watering than of calcium deficiency. Uneven watering interferes with the plants ability to obtain calcium from the soil. BER is rarely ever a problem for a tomato plant that has a thick organic mulch as this supplies nutrients and more importantly keeps soil moisture even. A fast source of calcium for the folks who screw up in their watering and mulching practices is calcium chloride - the same stuff for deicing pavement, dirt road dust control, and filling tractor wheels for weight. A spoonfull in a watering can applied as a foliar drench works just fine every couple of weeks.
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BER also poor drainage...Are they in pots? Had unusual heavy rain? Dry during early development? Ph about 6.5 helps... Make a spray of 4 teaspoons 96% cal. chloride per 1 gal of water and spray, once a week for 4 weeks.....Any longer and you may cause leaf burn...
www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/plantdiseasefs/450-703/450-703.html
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