Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blitzing Blossom End Rot with Hoffman Tomato Food

So, August is the time to reap the fruit of Spring's labor. When our tomato plants begin to shower us with juicy, red orbs, ready to eat.
But often, the early crop is marred by ugly black scars at the fruit's bottom. This is the dreaded "blossom end rot," so called because this blot is positioned where the yellow flower once bloomed.
Fret not, tomato growers. There is a cure: Hoffman's Tomato Food 5-10-10. Sprinkle a quarter of a cup of this fertilizer that is 5% nitrogen, 10$ phosphate and 10% potash about 4 inches from the plant stem, work into the top soil and water as usual. The younger fruit should grow unblemished.
Be sure to remove all damaged fruit - it will not taste good and will take up energy that the plant needs to produce new fruit.
We learned the hard way about blossom end rot, which damaged our early harvest for a few years running. Now, we fertilize early and often!
I hear this fertilizer isn't easy to find. In fact, I had to loan our box to my colleague Greg David who has planted his first tomato plants this summer. I'm going to be looking for a place that carries it. If anyone knows, please post here!


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jasmine1 said...

Did you ever find a source for Hoffman’s tomato food? I have and old bag because I had to stop growing them due to a neighbor who watered my tomatoes twice daily along with his. They got verticulum wilt. But last year he got another sprinkler, so I could grow tomatoes, and I used my Hoffman’s fertilizer and the tomatoes were fabulous. I thought you might want to know their formula is 5-10-10 and you used ¼ cup per plant. I know that too much nitrogen (most fertilizers are high) causes leggy plants that don’t develop fat stems and have few and small fruit. Hope that helps! Carol