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Tomato heartburn

By Carol Clark

That first tomato of the year! Always hard to leave it until it fully ripens. The day finally comes and you grab that beauty and pull the perfect fat tomato from the vine. Turn it over and ugh! Blossom End Rot!

Top of tomato:

And now the bottom:

This is the first time I have experienced this disheartening problem. Researching, I discovered either my dirt does not have enough calcium or the plant is stressed and cannot process the calcium. I thought calcium was for bones! Apparently boneless tomatoes need it too.

You can help prevent this from happening by watering evenly. Periods of drought followed by a lot of water definitely stresses out the plant. Mulch your plants when it is hot and it will help keep moisture in and make sure not to overwater.

Other things you can do to prevent the rot — put eggshells in your compost, powdered milk in your bed (garden bed, not your sleeping bed) or, my favorite, TUMS. You have heard of TUMS for your tummy. Well, now the makers of TUMS can have a new advertising campaign, "TUMS for Tomatoes." You just crush the tablet and work it into the dirt. It didn't say whether to use sugar-free or fast-acting, so I chose fast-acting.

Since this ailment appears less frequently as the summer wears on, anything you do will make you look like a gardening genius.


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