The fall gardening season is upon us in Florida and that means I’m ready to tackle tomatoes, figuratively speaking of course. You want to be gentle with these babies, careful. Unless you’re using one of those upside down bag “thingys” and then—all bets are off. From what I understand, you can’t kill the things when growing them in those contraptions!
But I’m an in-ground gardener, doing things the old-fashioned way. Now that it’s time to start my tomato sprouts it’s time to share a little secret, the secret to beautiful, healthy, blossom-end rot free tomatoes. Epsom salts and eggshells. Yep, just mix some crumbled eggshells together and Epsom salts into your potting mix and you’re good to go!
This disease is the result of a lack of calcium. Calcium’s most important function during the crop fruiting stage is its role in cell wall/cell membrane stability. If Ca is deficient in developing fruits, an irreversible condition known as blossom-end rot will develop. Blossom-end rot occurs when cell wall calcium “concrete” is deficient during early fruit development, and results in cell wall membrane collapse and the appearance of dark, sunken pits at the blossom end of fruit so this blend does wonders to give your plants a head start. The magnesium helps plants grow bigger, heartier tomatoes but go easy. Too much Mg can cause trouble, too.
This year I’m starting tomato sprouts inside and outside—the latter a venture I’m not completely convinced will succeed. For those of you unfamiliar with the Florida heat, we call these the “Dogs Days of August” which has to refer to the fact this weather is unsuitable for man or beast. Not that my boy Cody (Yellow Lab) is a beast, mind you, but he wants nothing to do with the outdoors right now—unless he’s in a lake. Or pool. He’s not fussy and either works, but my tender tomato sprouts?
The tiny green shoots tend to fry the minute they poke through the surface, but I’m willing to give it a try. I’m adventurous that way. On the patio, I’ll set my seedling trays near the screen and start my seeds. I mix up the Epsom salts and eggshells with my compost and this seems to do the trick. Come September, I’ll transplant into the garden.
For any doubters out there in garden blog land, don’t doubt me on this one. My spring garden was proof-positive that this garden combo works. How do I know?
My ruby-red gems were covered in rotten spots. 🙁 Please, don’t let that happen to you.