Blossom end rot of tomatoes is a common problem that affects many gardeners. This disease, also called “black bottom”, causes the appearance of black spots and discolored areas on the fruits. Fortunately, there are several natural and economical tips to prevent this inconvenience. In this article, we present three effective methods to protect your tomato plants against blossom end rot.
1. Use natural mulch
Mulching is a technique of covering the soil around plants with organic material. This method offers many benefits, including soil temperature regulation, moisture retention, and erosion prevention. To combat blossom end rot in tomatoes, it is possible to use different types of natural mulch:
- Straw : Straw is a light and economical mulch, ideal for retaining moisture and preventing evaporation. It also improves the structure of the soil and enriches the soil with organic matter.
- Grass clippings: Lawn clippings are an often underestimated resource in gardening. They can be used as mulch to feed the soil with nitrogen and organic matter, while regulating humidity.
- Chopped leaves: Chopped leaves are another natural solution to protect tomato plants from blossom end rot. They provide an insulating layer that promotes water retention and limits soil temperature fluctuations.
- Shredded bark: Shredded bark is a tough, durable mulch that can be used to improve soil structure and limit erosion. It also helps regulate humidity and control weed growth.
How to properly mulch your tomato plants?
For mulching to be effective against blossom end rot, it is essential to follow certain steps:
- Water the tomato plants thoroughly before laying the mulch, in order to create a good reserve of moisture for the roots.
- Place a layer of 5 to 10 cm of mulch around the plants, without directly touching the trunk, to avoid smothering the roots or promoting disease.
- Re-mulch as it decomposes to maintain a consistent level of blossom-end rot protection.
2. Adopt balanced fertilization
Proper fertilization is essential to prevent blossom end rot in tomatoes. Indeed, this disease can be caused by an imbalance between the calcium needs of the plants and the content of the soil in this element. A lack of calcium can cause black spots to form on fruits and make tomatoes susceptible to blossom end rot.
Fertilize your tomatoes with calcium
To make up for calcium deficiencies, it is possible to use several types of fertilizer:
- Egg shells: Crush dried eggshells and incorporate them into the soil around the tomato plants. They will gradually release calcium into the soil.
- Limestone amendments: Calcareous amendments, such as lime or gypsum, are rich in calcium and make it possible to correct the acidity of the soil while filling in mineral deficiencies.
- Specific fertilizers: Fertilizers specially formulated for tomatoes usually contain calcium and other nutrients needed for plant growth. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to determine how much to use.
Maintain a good balance of nutrients
It is also crucial to ensure the supply of potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen to prevent blossom end rot in tomatoes. Balanced fertilization promotes harmonious development of plants and limits the risk of disease.
3. Practice regular and appropriate irrigation
Regular irrigation adapted to the needs of tomato plants is essential to ensure their health and prevent blossom end rot. In fact, a soil that is too dry or irregularly watered can prevent the absorption of calcium by the roots and cause the appearance of black spots on the fruits.
How to properly water your tomatoes?
To avoid blossom end rot in tomatoes, follow good irrigation practices:
- Water the tomato plants regularly, depending on the climatic conditions and the needs of the plants. In hot weather, daily watering may be necessary.
- Prefer watering at the foot of the plants, rather than sprinkler watering. This limits evaporation and directs water directly to the roots.
- Water preferably in the morning, when temperatures are cooler and evaporation is less important.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy to avoid overwatering which could promote blossom end rot.
By applying these three natural and economical tips, you will be able to effectively prevent blossom end rot in tomatoes and enjoy your harvest to the fullest.