Tomatoes - Bottom Blossom Rot, Oh my!

Ick! Ugly brown soft spots cover the undersides of our otherwise delicious looking big red beefsteak tomatoes. They look so perfect, from the top. But pick them and you'll see the heartbreaking problem.

My mother-in-law and father-in-law were tomato growers. They were crazy about tomatoes. Big, red, juicy, flavorful beefsteak heirloom tomatoes.

So, my hubby and I decided we'd grow them too. I love fresh and flavorful tomatoes. Not those bland, hard, barely blushing lumps you find in the store. The problem is that we had no idea there was a problem. Not until we picked what looked like perfect tomatoes. But turn them over. Tragic. Ugly. Disappointing.

What to do? None of us in the family had a clue. But dashing to the rescue, a local tv station meteorologist, and his book full of handy gardening info. Loren Nancarrow and his book Dead Snails Leave No Trails.

I emailed Loren a few years ago. Asked him what the problem was with the tomatoes. He kindly informed me that the problems was not in the tomato, but in the soil.

We needed to add something called gypsum to the soil before we started our garden. Apparently, the tomato plants needed more calcium than what our soil naturally provided.

Well, we pulled out plants, started over and you know what? It worked! No more ugly brown spots, just beefsteak-a-licious! Mmm...

You can find gypsum in the gardening section of your favorite home & garden store.

What kind of problems have you encountered in your tomato garden?

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