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Growing a Healthy Tomato Crop

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Mario A. Villarino DVM, Ph.D.

A common problem in tomato development is known as blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is a developmental disease of tomato fruits due to irregular watering during the growing cycle. The most common reason for this anomaly is irregular plant input of calcium during the plant growth. In calcium rich soils, the main reason for this is lack of even watering. Blossom end rot is observed as a darkened circular softening of the fruit at the bottom or basal part of the tomato fruit. Because this is a nutrient deficiency during the development of the plant, there is no treatment of the problem once the fruit is affected.  Gardeners and tomato producers most practice preventive methods (proper fertilization and watering). There is however, another reason for blossom end rot during plant development due to magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency also manifest as overall plant stress, sometimes a purple hue can be seen in young plants and chlorosis as well (darkening of leaves stems against a paler than normal leaf matrix). A common preventive method is to add lime (in acid soils) or Epsom salt (in soils slightly acidic or neutral) usually two-four spoons per plant per month. For more information in this or any other agricultural topic please contact the Hopkins County Extension Office at 903-885-3443 or email me at [email protected].

Mario A. Villarino DVM, Ph.D.

County Extension Agent for Ag and Natural Resources

Hopkins County

1200 B Houston Street

Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482

903-885-3443

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