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Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2005 3:34 pm

blossom end rot

So this is my first year gardening on my own and I have a small raised bed garden in Providence, RI.
The soil is great with plenty of rich compost worked in. I originally tested it and added some bird guano (8-8-2 I think) to make up for a Nitrogen deficiency. I added a bit more than the suggestion on the package since I was working it so deeply.
My plants are gorgeous! I've never seen squash or zucchini plants so large. The only problem is that I continue to lose little yellow squash to blossom end rot. I don't think it's a pollination issue, because other plants are doing fine.
There haven't been any severe watering changes and I sprinkled a little lime around the yellow squash with hopes that it might provide Calcium. I also plan to sprinkle some crushed egg shells around the bed.

Here's my dilemma...before I did enough research to understand that blossom drop can be caused by too much nitrogen, I mixed more of the bird guano with a few gallons of water and watered each of my plants, thinking I was giving them a boost (I haven't used any fertilizers since they were planted). Did I just ruin any chances of the blossom drop fading by adding more ammonium nitrogen to the soil? Is there anything that I can do at this point or do I just wait it out?
Thanks for any suggestions.

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Greener Thumb
Posts: 1596
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 8:42 pm
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

One year my hubby kept feeding our tomatoes like he would corn - with loads of nitrogen. We too had blossom end rot, but lived in Florida where the soil is pretty much sand, so before the end of the season, most of the excess had washed down and we actually had some tomatoes to eat.

We also had the tallest, prettiest tomato plants you ever saw - we had a few Cherry tomato plants that grew over seven feet tall! I had to start staking them from an overhead tree branch... lol.

I don't know if the soil in your area will let those nutrients just wash away in a month or so. Hopefully Opa or THG can help!

Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4659
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Here's the thing. A fertilizer with an NPK value as 8-8-2 is really high in both Nitrogen and Potassium. If it is excess Nitrogen that is causing your blossom end rot, the only real way to ammend the problem is to add organic matter. Mulched up leaves work, compost works great and..... (let me think).

I would really lead towards the mulched up leaves or even some wood chips. These are both low in Nitrogen (and considered a brown) and the bacteria in the soil will suck up a bunch of the excess Nitrogen while digesting the leaves and wood. Leaves will be broken down much faster so, I'd really go with them.

Good luck!

Oh and in the future you can continue to add the bird guano but, add some browns (dry brown grass, hay, leaves, wood chips) to the soil with the manure and you will be left with lovely, nutrient rich soil.

The Helpful Gardener
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

Try a cup of milk in a gallon of water sprayed on the plants to combat that blossom end rot...


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