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Lonesomedave
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Location: NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE- zone 6B - 7A on USDA plant hardiness map

preventing blossom end rot

here's my situation

i have purchased about 4 or 5 cubic yards of great topsoil from my local nursery...
i have filled all my containers and put about a foot on my in-ground bed...
i have a tomato related problem

i am ready to plant...the nursery told me the topsoil was essentially neutral ph-wise...
they also told me they did not put any lime in the topsoil

so, here is my question....i am concerned about blossom end-rot and i want to add some calcium to my soil. the only way i know to do this is to add lime....specifically garden lime from the store.

how much should i add? i don't want to lower my ph, but i feel i must add some calcium to the soil.

is there a better method for adding calcium?

any thoughts would be appreciated

dave
Fertilizer...Kelp Extract...Compost Tea...Fish Emulsion....Manure (tea)...etc....A little all the time is better than a lot at once... thus endeth the lesson....

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rainbowgardener
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Re: preventing blossom end rot

Lime doesn't lower pH, it raises it, making it more alkaline, less acidic. However you even more do not want to do that. Veggies tolerate a little acidic a lot better than a little alkaline.

To add calcium without raising pH, you can pulverize eggshells in your blender or you can buy shell meal, ground oyster shells. Gypsum is another source of calcium that doesn't raise pH. Molasses and yoghurt are both calcium sources and have other nutrients that are good for plants. They can be mixed into water and added to the soil that way.

But blossom end rot is rarely due to a lack of calcium in the soil. Usually the soil is fine, but the plant has difficulty taking up the calcium, due to stress, especially inconsistent watering and allowing the soil to dry out too much between waterings (the plants need water to take up Ca).

You could just work on the consistent watering part and see what happens.
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PaulF
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Re: preventing blossom end rot

I agree with Rainbowgardener; your soil will not be the cause of BER. Stress from inconsistent watering and temperature swings early in the season cause stress to the plant and shut off the nutrient uptake to fruit, which includes calcium. It is a natural reaction for plant self survival.

Don't add lime if you do not need it. Organics added to the soil will make the soil better overall. but will not affect BER.
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imafan26
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Re: preventing blossom end rot

Soil in pots may cause you problems. You should use potting soil in pots. Soil is heavy, it contracts, screened soil particles are too fine and it will contract. Top soil from the nursery does not contain any nutrients and very little organic matter.

If you have a problems with BER, it can be related to your tomato variety some are more susceptible than others.
Heat resistant tomatoes rarely have BER.

You can control irregular watering issues if you use a self watering container. You will need at least 10 gallons of soil and a 5 gallon reservoir. I use and 18 gallon rubbermaid tub for my self watering container; a it has a 5 gallon reservoir. I do not add any calcium to the pot at all. I use Miracle grow potting soil. (Make sure it is potting soil, not garden soil). I add 1/2 cup of a starter fertilizer. I use citrus food, it contains micros. I give additional 2 tbls of fertilizer at the first flowering, first fruit and monthly thereafter. In the beginning when the plants are small the reservoir can go a few days. When it is full grown and in production it needs to be filled daily. I have my drip system emitter down the watering tube so it fills automatically. I just have to adjust the timer and the dripper (I use a 0-27 gallon flow dripper) so I don't get a lot of overflow.
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Lonesomedave
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Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:21 am
Location: NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE- zone 6B - 7A on USDA plant hardiness map

Re: preventing blossom end rot

thanks for schoolin' me guys....Rainbow- yeah, i know lime raises PH...my bad

i also noticed after i posted that they had a sticky about BER, so i read that too

i'll try to be careful....thanks

dave
Fertilizer...Kelp Extract...Compost Tea...Fish Emulsion....Manure (tea)...etc....A little all the time is better than a lot at once... thus endeth the lesson....

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