In The Garden: Blossom end rot

"It's that soft, sunken little brown or black spot on the end of the fruit."

Posted: May 5, 2018 12:17 PM
Updated: May 5, 2018 12:57 PM

EUGENE, Ore -- It's almost time to plant tomatoes, melons, peppers and eggplant in your garden, but before you plant make sure to take preventative measures to avoid blossom end rot.

"It's that soft, sunken little brown or black spot on the end of the fruit. Right when you think you are ready to harvest, something you work all summer for, you get this blossom end rot. And it's a pain," said Caleb Johnson, owner of Johnson Brothers Garden Market.

Johnson says blossom end rot is the result of a lack of calcium in the soil. It can also be caused when there is calcium in the soil, but the plant can't absorb it well or fast enough. The lack of calciums start to break down cells on the actual fruit.

To avoid blossom end rot, Johnson recommends two steps. First, test your soil.

"If you have a neutral pH in your soil and if you have calcium in your soil, then the plant will be able to absorb that from the ground, " added Johnson.

If the soil is acidic, that indicates a lime deficiency. Johnson says proceed to step two and add lime to the soil.

"The lime does two things. It adds calcium to the soil and it will also raise your pH, hopefully making it more neutral," said Johnson.

Another option is to add hydrated lime, which is a quick boost of calcium. You can also introduce calcium in different forms such as bone meal or just an all purpose fertilizer with a calcium supplement in it.

Johnson Brothers Garden Market is located at 91444 Coburg Road in Eugene.

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