The curse of BER

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So I added calcium to the soil, I used fish emulsion fertilizer and I sprayed the leaves with calcium water. And BER set in anyway. No water stress such as dry roots. I water every day as it is quite warm and the pots dry fast. This is maddening because I lost so many tomatoes last year to BER. Just how much more can one do?
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Paul M. Cook wrote:

I don't think this is the right fertilizer for tomatoes (although it is what I in my ignorance used), it has too much nitrogen. It's something like 511.
I found this:
http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/edible_gardening_plus/73178
So, the fish fert may not be your cause, but it does not help and may indeed hurt.
Jeff
and I

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Jeff Thies wrote:

http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubs/PDF/C938.pdf
Although some people believe foliar sprays can correct Ca deficiency in developing fruits, research is very inconclusive on this issue. What is well known is that Ca only moves in the plant via the xylem and moves with the transpirational water flow from the roots, up the plant and into developing leaves. Calcium has no ability to flow from the leaves via the phloem to the developing fruit. In addition, once fruit has grown to golf ball size, the waxy outer layer has developed and is believed to be quite impermeable to water. Therefore, it is recommended that all Ca supplied to fruiting vegetables be applied via the irrigation water so as to maximize uptake by roots
And BER set in anyway. No

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Sigh. I was using the fish emulsion as it was recommended. I posted earlier about using the foliar spray as irrigation water and was told it was less effective that way. So what the heck, I will add it to the irrigation water. I try to keep the soil from drying out. My pots get a gallon of water a day and if I do not water in the morning I get a little wilt by afternoon. This whole uniform water has me puzzled. I mean those plants do grow in the wild and surely a consistently moist soil is not something they enjoy. I can see BER is more of a challenge in container gardening.
Paul
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Paul M. Cook wrote:

Not so sure about that. The wild tomato is a completely different vegetable than what we grow.
and surely a consistently moist soil is not something they

I don't know that much about container gardening. I have noticed that being in a container loses the moisture tempering of being in ground. I've seen both standing water in containers and containers that were completely dry, even though it had been raining for days not long before. Soil and drainage is much more critical in containers, it is also much easier to control.
To make the whole BER thing more complex, it appears that calcium can be displaced by other ions or cations that may be in your soil. So, you may not have good tomato soil without ever knowing it.
Jeff

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How about just sticking some calcium tablets into the soil? I don't need 25 pounds of lime just for my few pots.
Paul
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Well I'd guess that the calcium tablets about 6 oz. might cost close to 25 lb. of dolomite and the lime won't go bad. Growing with containers looks like small mistakes in the garden are focused or easier to make. I try to get stuff out of pots and into the ground then back into a pot if it is a houseplant late fall.
--
Bill S. Jersey USA zone 5 shade garden
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wrote:

Hmmm ... how much dolomite should I add to a 22 inch pot with 2 cubic feet of soil? Or does it matter? I mean the plant will take it up as needed. Can you overdose?
Paul
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Was this dirt, shoveled into pots, or did you use potting soil? If it was potting soil, that won't be the problem. If it was dirt, then call the local Master Gardener, or the UC Ag Extension near you, and ask about local soil.
--
- Billy
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wrote:

It is Sta-Green vegetable and flower planting mix. It has chunks of white calcium bits still in it so I am surprised. I was told this mix was a long lasting blend.
Paul
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Water when the soil is dry to the top inch.
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- Billy
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wrote:

I water daily because the plants suck up all the water during the day. They are not overwatered. I water just until I see a little seapage from the bottom of the pots. Big plants, warm and breezy days mean a lot of transpiration.
Paul
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You are using pots and you admit that these dry out daily. Either take on board the message the BER comes as a result of inconsistent watering, which is what you are doing by using pots, or start planting your toms in the ground where they might have a fighting chance to avoid BER.
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wrote:

I have grown tomatoes (all sorts, hybrids, heirlooms, full size and cherries) in pots for over 20 years. The seasons and my watering habits and capabilities/attentions have varied greatly over that time, and I have had seasons of great bounty and seasons of minimal harvest due to yield or predation of various sorts.
Nevertheless, I have never, ever had BER, so don't go thinking it is inevitable for pots or variable watering. T'aint so.
And yes, I have tomatoes growing in the ground, too, so it isn't too difficult to draw comparisons. I never had BER there, either.
I have many thing successfully growing in pots this year:
tomatoes cukes peas beans broccoli radishes lettuces bok choi scallions chives grapes shallots musk melons yellow squash blackberries broccoli rabe 12-15 herbs lots more, too...I'll remember later on.
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Boron Elgar wrote:

You seem to have a very neutral soil in your area. Lucky you!! My base soil is very acid red clay, so it takes a lot of amending & regular soil test to keep mine neutral.
Tom J
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wrote:

start with plain old "dirt" or sometimes with top or potting soil, depending on what is handy, then add compost, Epsom salt, peat, manure and anything else that the particular plant I am growing might require.
It is rather easy to "make" good soil for pots that way and one can tailor it to whatever one grows. I make it by the garbage-can full. The next season, the pots' contents are screened, re-amended and re-used, assuming no veggie-pest or contagion has hit it, in which case, it get placed in flower beds.
I have also taken two backyards and made vegetable gardens in them by soil amending over the years. It isn't something that can be done in one season, but it can be done. All it takes is time and some money.
Then again, I am in NJ and they don't call it The Garden State for nothing, although it should be said that in the central part of the state, when my father in law, from whom I learned a lot, practiced his master gardening, the soil was brick red clay.
Boron
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And where did I say that planting in pots IS the cause of BER?

So why can't you identify the difference between what you are doing and what the OP has said?
If you actually bothered to read what I wrote, to spend a nanosecond thinking about it, you might be able to figure out what you have sorted out and what the OP has NOT done despite him having been told a number of times in the thread what the likely problem is. Hint: it is not pots, it is how he looks after the pots and what may (repeat; may) be easier for him to control if he plants in soil.
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wrote:

Right up above you implied it:
**************************************************

**************************************************
I can easily identify that. Your comments, on the other hand, were leading him down the primrose path.

simplistic and misleading. It is not irregular watering of the plants in pots that necessarily caused BER, nor would transferring them to the ground necessarily prevent it.
End of story, bub.
Boron
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wrote in message

Don't be ridiculous.
I can't be responsible for you inferring something that was not implied. I emphasised watering. Pots only got a mention because that is where the OP is growing the toms and where he has had repeated problems.

LOL. If you can identify it, then perhaps you should say something useful about it? Your silence on the subject says you identify ............. nothing? something?
Your comments, on the other hand, were

So why the silence on a cause?
At least I am making comments that suggests a possible cure in future. You mentioned nothing useful or a possible cause. I mentioned THE most likely cause given what we've been told over the course of this thread about inconsistent watering (depite the OPs current reversal of previous posts).

And that response from you is simplistic and misleading.
IF you had reread the thread, you may have noticed that the OP confesses that 'the whole uniform water has me puzzled', that he waters daily, that he doesn't water daily, that his 22 inch pots get a gallon a day, that his plants wilt in the afternoon, that his plants have only ever wilted twice. IF you had bothered to reread you may then have noticed that my post was about watering. Also IF you had bothered to reread, you may have noticed that even the OP says; 'I can see BER is more of a challenge in container gardening.'
Incorrect watering is certainly not the only cause of BER BUT, the OP is a relative newbie, has stated that he doesn't unserstand consistency with watering (and his story), has had this problem before when planting in pots and is choosing to take the scattergun approach and race all over the place doing everthing but take on board one thing at a time and to try to remedy and therefore deal with the MOST likely cause.

You haven't given any story. You've just blathered on as a result of incomprehension.
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wrote:

You posted giving a possible cause and possible cure of BER, each relating to growing methodology in pots or removing to the ground. I countered that neither was necessarily a cause nor cure of or for BER.
I stand by that.
If you can't take the heat, get out of the garden. You asked. I gave it.
Boron
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