Tomato Care

Tomato Care can be simplified into a couple of chores and know how. Mike Lang addresses common questions sent in by readers about planting and caring for tomatoes.

| CAPPER's June 2005

  • A juicy Tomato
    Juicy Tomato

  • A juicy Tomato

It has been an odd spring at my little spot on the map. It was mild early enough to allow an early bloom of the spring bulbs, then it turned dry, which caused the lush grass to take on a hot summer appearance, and there were several freezes over two weeks past the average frost-free date for this area. I know some gardeners who replanted their tomato plants two or three times before we made it back to average temperatures.

I like to tell my gardening friends that the reason I planted my tomatoes so late this year is because I had a feeling that we would have some late freezes. But the truth is, I would have had them in if I'd had my garden spot ready for planting. I guess in this case, procrastination paid off.

Nearly every conversation I heard during these late freezes eventually entailed something about the well-being of the tomatoes in the garden. It's amazing how this common garden plant can be the topic of conversation for everyone who puts a trowel into the ground, as well as for those who don't.

A couple of questions from readers made me realize what the topic of conversation may be over the next several months.

As the first tomato fruits of the year begin to mature, it's almost a sure bet that questions will abound as to what is causing the bottom end of the fruits to sink in and turn brown. This phenomenon is aptly named blossom-end rot.

Blossom-end rot is not caused by an insect or disease, but is brought about by the lack of calcium uptake to the fruit. In most cases, there is an ample supply of calcium in the soil, but for several reasons, the plant may not be getting it from the soil to the fruit.

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