krk4hd
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New gardener, several problems

Hi,

I am new to gardening and am having a rough time. Here are my problems:

1)tomato blossom end rot. I am thinking moisture is the issue. We have been having unbearably hot days followed by several days of thunderstorms and it seems every time I get a lot of rain the tomatoes that fruited during that time end up rotten. I would say about 1/3 of my tomatoes are getting this. I see lots of advice on how to prevent end rot but not how to stop it, so that's my first issue.

2) pepper plants. 2 weeks ago they were blossoming like crazy, I got 2-3 fruits per plant and then nothing. The plant has stopped producing flowers. Itty bitty fruits have fallen off. The plants haven't been getting any bigger. What peppers are on there haven't grown bigger in about a week.

3) cucumbers not setting fruit. My cucumber plants have been putting out male flowers for over 2 weeks now, tons of them, yet not a single female flower or fruit. I have seen bees so I know they are getting pollinated.

What gives? I am getting really frustrated.

I am being careful to water them as needed but not overwater. The garden gets direct sun about half the day. It has been really hot and humid, if that helps.

DoubleDogFarm
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krk4hd,

How hot is really hot? Also please tell use about your soil and fert regiment.

If you add a little more information to your profile, may help us also. :wink:


A warm welcome to Helpful Gardener.
Eric

bogydave
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I think you nailed the tomato BER (blossm end rot)
Hot, then very wet, other thing also cause it but what you described it the most common.

Peppers may have the same issues, I have to shake mine to get them pollenated.

Cucs, strange; usually lots of male blooms but females about every 18" or so. You should be getting some females if the weather stabilizes.
Could be a temperature thing also.

I have to grow the 3 above in a Green House here, too cold if I don't.
So I have better climate control. I get BER but not 30%. As long as you get some, that's good with the weather variables you described.

Ask around your area & see if others are having the same issues & what they do to improve production.

Good luck

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rainbowgardener
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Re: New gardener, several problems

krk4hd wrote:Hi,

I am new to gardening and am having a rough time. Here are my problems:

1)tomato blossom end rot. I am thinking moisture is the issue. We have been having unbearably hot days followed by several days of thunderstorms and it seems every time I get a lot of rain the tomatoes that fruited during that time end up rotten. I would say about 1/3 of my tomatoes are getting this. I see lots of advice on how to prevent end rot but not how to stop it, so that's my first issue.

2) pepper plants. 2 weeks ago they were blossoming like crazy, I got 2-3 fruits per plant and then nothing. The plant has stopped producing flowers. Itty bitty fruits have fallen off. The plants haven't been getting any bigger. What peppers are on there haven't grown bigger in about a week.

3) cucumbers not setting fruit. My cucumber plants have been putting out male flowers for over 2 weeks now, tons of them, yet not a single female flower or fruit. I have seen bees so I know they are getting pollinated.

What gives? I am getting really frustrated.

I am being careful to water them as needed but not overwater. The garden gets direct sun about half the day. It has been really hot and humid, if that helps.

Eric was right, your location and more about what temps you are dealing with would help.

but you said you are getting advice about how to prevent BER (usually related to adding calcium some how) but not stop it. That's because all you can do is prevent it. BER is related to what was going on at the time the fruit was set. By the time you see it, there is nothing you can do about it. But if only affects that fruit, not the plants, so if you can correct the conditions, the same plant will go on to produce healthy fruit. But I think you are right about the weather and inconsistent watering being the causal conditions in this case.

Blossom drop (like your peppers) is a stress reaction. When the plant is stressed it drops the blossoms to concentrate on survival. Peppers are usually more heat tolerant than tomatoes, but if it is hot enough especially wet and hot, that could be your stressor.

Re the cukes, you said you have plenty of bees so you know they (the flowers) are getting pollinated. But you also said the plants have only male flowers. That doesn't make any sense. Only the female flowers get pollinated. The male flowers produce the pollen, which the bees carry to the female ones (a basic birds and bees lesson! :) ). It is typical for cucurbits (cukes, squash, melons) to produce only male flowers at first. Probably makes sure that the bees are around by the time the female flowers show up. In this case, likely all you need is a little patience. Give it another couple weeks and the female flowers should start showing up and setting fruit.
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stella1751
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Re: New gardener, several problems

krk4hd wrote:Hi,

1)tomato blossom end rot. I am thinking moisture is the issue. We have been having unbearably hot days followed by several days of thunderstorms and it seems every time I get a lot of rain the tomatoes that fruited during that time end up rotten. I would say about 1/3 of my tomatoes are getting this. I see lots of advice on how to prevent end rot but not how to stop it, so that's my first issue.
Several years ago, I had BER on container peppers and had good luck with adding epsom salts. I put about a half a cup in a gallon jug of water and poured it on several plants.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

mattie g
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Re: New gardener, several problems

stella1751 wrote:Several years ago, I had BER on container peppers and had good luck with adding epsom salts. I put about a half a cup in a gallon jug of water and poured it on several plants.
I had BER on container Romas earlier in the season - over half of the first fruits had it (same container has Black Krim, and the BK have been OK). I added a little lime to the container, and only one of the subsequent 15 or so fruits has had BER. It could have been an issue with the more frequent rains we had early in the season, but I like to think my quick reaction in adding lime was the solution. :wink:

krk4hd
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Mattie g, when you say you added lime do you mean actual lime juice? Or lime as in limestone? Whatever it is, is it something I can buy at the nursery? Rookie question I know...

Maybe I will try epsom salt in the water? Is this a treatment you should repeat regularly? Or just once to fix the imbalance?

Eric, by hot and humid conditions, I mean mid to high 90s with over 70% humidity (I live in Missouri). Today is a good day, only high of 85, but the humidity is 87%. For fertilizer, I haven't used any, everything I am growing is organic so I figured using fertilizer would defeat the concept. The only thing I put in my garden to start it was a bunch of top soil. I have seen advice on laying down mulch, do you think that would help at all?

rainbowgardener, I see what you're saying about the bees. I guess what I meant was that I have seen the bees inside the male flowers doing their thing but I guess if there's no female flowers it doesn't matter.

Thanks to everyone who has commented so far. You have been very helpful and I feel like I'm learning alot.

DoubleDogFarm
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Eric, by hot and humid conditions, I mean mid to high 90s with over 70% humidity (I live in Missouri). Today is a good day, only high of 85, but the humidity is 87%. For fertilizer, I haven't used any, everything I am growing is organic so I figured using fertilizer would defeat the concept. The only thing I put in my garden to start it was a bunch of top soil. I have seen advice on laying down mulch, do you think that would help at all?
Rainbow pretty much covered the weather stress.

Organics, You will have to choose what is right for you. To import material or not, fertilize or not, mulch or not. Many different names, organics, sustainability, permaculture.

I use compost, manure, organic fertilizer and mulch.

Mulch, Will it help? I'm thinking it depends on what you are using. I'm using green hay and grass clips in my orchard. It's working really well for weed suppression and more even watering. The even watering may help against fruit split, but not BER. Calcium seems to be the cure for this.

Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate and I believe it's not considered organic, but you should look that up.

Eric

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rainbowgardener
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garden lime is pulverized limestone and is available in nurseries/ garden stores.

You said you have not fertilized. I applaud your wish to be organic, but unless your soil is really rich, your plants will need some added nutrients. As Eric said:

"I use compost, manure, organic fertilizer and mulch. "

Mulch is helpful for weed suppression, keeping moisture in the soil, and eventually breaks down to feed the soil, but eventually is probably more like next spring. So even if you are mulching, you still need to do something to add some nutrients now.
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Runningtrails
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I'm getting worried about the lack of female flowers on my squash too. I've grown varioius squash for years but always had several different kinds so no problems. This year I am limiting my self to mostly one kind. I have 19 plants of this type but, still, it's just the one type and I've only grown it one previous year. I am hoping female flowers will come along soon. It's a long season squash and I started it early indoors, but not as early as I would have liked, so I'm a little worried that it won't have time to produce much if it doesn't get on with it!

I got tired of the time and stress related to preventing cross pollination, so I am only growing one squash from each family this year. 19 plants of Hopi Black Squash (maxima), one plant of a pepo, one plant of a moschata, no mixtas this year. One only of the two families because that's all that came up. I was busy and just had too much to do at that time to focus on squash. Next year I am growing one kind from each of the four families and more than just the one plant of each.

Anyway, this year I have all my eggs in one basket, so I'm getting a little nervous with no female flowers yet. I always hand pollinate for a better yield and to prevent cross pollination (masking tape method). Actually there were a couple of female flowers very early, long before there were any male flowers yet, so I couldn't pollinate those either. :roll:
Last edited by Runningtrails on Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

mattie g
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krk4hd wrote:Mattie g, when you say you added lime do you mean actual lime juice? Or lime as in limestone? Whatever it is, is it something I can buy at the nursery? Rookie question I know...
Don't worry...I'm a rookie too.

It was garden lime - you can definitely get it at a nursery. I've heard that it may not really help in the short-term, and that it's better if you add it to the soil as you're planting, but I figured I'd give it a shot and throw some down to do my best to ensure less BER on the later fruits. Whether it had any effect or not, I really don't know. All I know is that I've only had one tomato with BER on my seven plants since then.

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Runningtrails
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I had a lot of BER last year, almost no tomatoes! Very disappointing! This year I mulched well, planted them in better soil, put in a little manure, a little hort. lime and a Tums into each hole and plan to water with epsom salts soon - everything I could think of to prevent it. Looks good so far.

Not sure what works and what doesn't work, but it doesn't cost much to do it all, so why not? Tums are cheap.

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