What is wrong with my roma's?

Hi All,
On a lark, I decided to try growing Roma Tomatoes. (I am very successful with cherries, but never big tomatoes.)
Well, I got lots of green Roma's , which is a good sign. But when they ripen, the ends turn brown.
https://ibb.co/kWZW0z
What the heck?
-T
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T wrote:

could be blossom end rot, which is a lack of even moisture/calcium deficiency issue that often happens when the plant's root system can't keep up with the demand for moisture in the fruits/leaves.
next season try dryland farming a variety that is better suited for not being watered. if you have the space for them, they are planted further apart and the soil is prepped when there is moisture to fluff it up, but after that they are not watered at all. you may not get a large amount of fruits but what you get are what you think of as a tomato.
i've seen Early Girl mentioned as a popular dryland farming tomato.
i also think that if the cherry tomatoes are working out for you why mess with a good thing...
the tomatoes are just now coming in here. we gave away about 15 lbs of Roma tomatoes yesterday along with me putting up 9 quarts of tomato chunks. just the start...
we've been having a bit of a dry spell the past few weeks so i have had to keep watering otherwise our clay soil will crack deeply. today we are finally getting some rain, i'm not sure it will be enough, but we'll see what it looks like tomorrow when i go out there and poke around.
songbird
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On 08/17/2018 02:02 PM, songbird wrote:

I tried Early Girls and bombed on my ass.
I will give more water to the Roma's. They look normal until they ripen. Then the end turns white, then brown
Thank you!
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T wrote: ...

how's the pH where they are planted?
remember for a big tomato plant you need a lot of root system. i recall your soil being non-existant for the most part so i'm guessing that you're just not going to be able to support a big tomato plant in your conditions until you get enough topsoil developed.
it doesn't hurt to try things and to check out different varieties, but if the cherry tomatoes keep working you can try different larger varieties of them and what are called patio tomatoes.
also, of course, look into varieties that are BER resistant and acclimated to aridity.
songbird
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On 08/17/2018 06:44 PM, songbird wrote:

This is a spot where I have been working on the soil for years. It could still be a tiny bit alkali, but garlic grown there looks purple instead of red, with is a good sign. But..
I probably need more fertilizer to add to add the organic matter I have plowed under.
The bushes themselves are growing quite well. I gots lots of green tomatoes on it. Before (early girls, etc.) I would get only one or two stunted tomatoes total (green+red).
I learned this year that you have to fertilize your ass off!
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T wrote: ...

yes, but how deep (how many cubic feet per plant)? for a large plant figure the root system has to be down in the soil about the same as the size of the plant above... you can help some roots go off and down by pounding a metal chunk of rebar in the hole you dig for the tomatoes to give some extra area to them, but if the soil is really bad they're going to struggle...

if you want humus you can usually balance your carbon and nitrogen ratio (like any other composting situation). one way i add more N is by grown legumes. alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil are two of the better ones because they can get to be larger plants that also cast some shade, smother weeds, give off plenty of seeds for starting other plants and they can also be chopped a few times a season if you have enough rains to get them growing. once established they also can have a pretty deep root system so that also helps in an arid climate. i'm picking some of mine now and drying it for winter food for the worms. :)

good to see progress happening. :)

some vegetable plants have an effective limit and if you add more you'll get plenty of green leaves but not much production. i've found that out with certain varieties of green peppers as just one example. also for some other plants too much fertilizer will give you weaker leaves and stems more subject to certain diseases.
have you added sulfur once in a while?
songbird
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On 08/18/2018 04:33 AM, songbird wrote:

Thank you!
Never added sulfur. Is there some indication when I need to?
I have only treat the soil down to about 14". My tomato plants are five feet tall. That would kill me to treat that deep!
I have backed off on the fertilizer as soon as they started fruiting.
I only use organic fertilizers so I can't burn anything (and not poison my wife).
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T wrote: ...

high pH is the indication you need acidifiers. humus is a mild acid, not sure what you've done already or how it buffers.

it takes a while to get things going to that depth, but once you have worms and plant roots working for you they can make holes down a ways.
also if you space plants further apart then their roots can spread out more and not compete with the neighbors. if you don't have cardboard or some other mulch you can use flat stones over the surface to hold moisture in.
other things you can do are grow arid adapted trees that fix nitrogen (they do exist) and use all that organic matter for your gardens.

Romas are determinant so they come on mostly for a certain period and then are done. so yeah, adding more fertilizer would be a waste.

i can't say much about any of that since i don't know what's in them or the strength. with you being in an arid climate that changes how fast some things happen and if you can grow cover crops afterwards to soak up anything that might otherwise leach away.
songbird
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On 08/17/2018 11:00 AM, T wrote:

Followup: Blossom Rot.
Spoke with the local university extension and got a real education on large tomatoes.
First off, everything Songbird said was dead nuts accurate.
She told me that Blossom Rot is caused mainly by two things in our parts: 1) lack of calcium (not an issue as my muni water is full of calcium), and 2) missing a watering.
To add, to what Songbird said, I found out the rest of the mistakes I was making.
My growing spaces for tomatoes is basically a football shaped ellipse that is about six feet across and 12 feet long. I have been amending the soil for years.
My mistake. Large tomatoes require a lot of space for their roots. Roots can be up to eight feet long and as deep. So, you basically need a six foot down and six foot across area to grow them.
My ellipse is only amended down to about 1-1/2 foot. At about two feet, my ellipse might as well be sitting on cinder blocks.
Large tomatoes require "deep watering".
The indent I made when I planted the Romas, too keep water from running off, turned into a dome when the plants grew, so water ran off rather and ponding.
1) you don't want a Pot of water, you want a soaking of the area six by six.
2) spot water works for zukes but not large tomatoes.
Why cherries worked, she did not know.
So poop! Large tomatoes are out, as I do not have the energy or funding to amend such a spot for them to grow. I would need a back hoe!
Is okay, at least I know now why I can't grow a large tomato. And why all my other attempts had blossom rot on their ends as well.
She also told me that I have to "Hot" compose. Just burying vegi scraps only works marginally.
And also told me that the local compost dealer's stuff did not work as it was very "inconsistent". I had stopped using it years ago as it was worthless. No one else seemed to have this experience. I am glad she removed the veil.
Always learning!
Thank you all for the help is getting me to this point!
-T
Cherry tomatoes it is! I am awash in them. :-)
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T wrote: ...

a slight pond is ok to capture and soak in some of the rains when they happen, but you are right in the main. in our clay here i keep the gardens fairly level for the tomatoes.
it rained several times last night and it's raining again now so i'm hoping i don't get a lot of split tomatoes, but that is a problem when you have them ripe and sitting on the plant. i hoped to be able to pick but now that won't happen until tomorrow. at least worms like them no matter what. :)

because they're small. :)

you should have asked her about worm composting. :) best stuff ever. worms secret calcium in their poo.

and you can grow several kinds for some variety.
songbird
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