Tomato spoilers: avoid or control these common tomato troubles

IF YOU SEE: Leathery skin on fruit and a dark or water soaked area on the blossom end (opposite the stem) of the fruit that eventually enlarges, turns brown or black, and becomes sunken and flat …

This might be BLOSSOM END ROT, which is often caused by fluctuating soil moisture such as occurs when a dry period is followed by lots of rain. This is evidence of a calcium deficiency in the fruit. Too much nitrogen, high salt levels in the soil, or root damage can also contribute. Note: Fruit does not rot unless secondary organisms invade. Tomatoes grow slowly and may ripen prematurely.

To avoid: Prepare deep, well-drained soil. Apply lime if calcium is low. Plant in warm soil. Water uniformly and regularly; provide mulch. Cultivate shallowly. Avoid overfertilizing; use nitrogen forms that do not contain ammonia, which inhibits calcium uptake. Stake plants when young.

To control: Remove affected fruit.

IF YOU SEE: Misshapen fruit with scars at the blossom end … Read more