Black Bottoms On My Topsy Turvy Tomatoes

by Kelley
(Cottontown, TN)

Question:


My tomato plant is doing great as far as growing in the Topsy Turvy. But my tomatoes are turning black on the bottom before they ever get growing really well. I water it daily, late in the evening and I feed it once a week. I'm not sure what else to do to stop this. I had heard it was a lack of calcium? I'm not so sure on that, but I would appreciate it if someone could tell me something about this. It produces lots of tomatoes, but they always turn black on the bottom.


Answer:

Hi Kelley,

Your information pertaining to lack of calcium sounds right to me. What sounds like is happening, is Blossom End Rot.

That's where the end of the fruit that was the original end of the yellow blossom starts turning a brown-leathery color. Black is the final stage.

Blossom end rot is usually traced to fluctuations in outside temperature and/or water issues. A lack of calcium is the result of one or all of those imbalances and that lack of calcium causes what you are seeing on your plant.

The good news is, blossom end rot is controllable. The great thing, is that you are already doing one thing well that I would have recommended. That's fertilizing. Just make sure you are following the manufacturers recommendations for the frequency of fertilizing.

Moving on, I've always thought that the upside down tomato planters were difficult to monitor water levels. If they're hanging high, it's especially hard to feel the soil to detect how much water is in the containers soil. Check out my review on the Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter by clicking here.

Watering everyday in the evening may not be what you need to do. First of all, the best time to water tomato plants, is in the morning. Especially with Topsy Turvy types, the water will drain out the drainage hole right onto the surface of the leaves. Water resting on tomato leaves can lead to blight. Watering in the morning is best since the sun can dry the leaves out quickly with usually no ill-effects pertaining to blight.

Also, watering everyday sounds good, but some days, the container might not need water. You'll need to gain access to the top of the container in order to be able to touch the soil. Gaging dampness of the soil is key on knowing when to water and when not to water. Click here and read my advice on the "thumb-test" regarding a question on knowing when to water.

So with that said, getting the proper watering schedule in conjunction with your already weekly fertilizing schedule will hopefully reverse the Tomato Blossom End Rot.

Good Luck in your efforts,
Brad




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