Can You Even Handle This Blossom End Rot


Weird migraine today. I did not know my headaches were migraines until my eye doctor informed me. Funny — you’d think I would know. But then, humans can be good at health denial. I can absolutely verify through family and friend experience that downplaying or denying health issues is considered emotionally tough, more mature, more adult. How ridiculous, and eventually, fiscally unsupportable, no matter how much money you’re saving upfront by being stoic and not going to the doctor.


My tomatoes have blossom end rot. This is the ultimate sadface of gardening sadfaces — for today. Tomorrow something else will pop up and I will sadface harder.

Blossom end rot is, apparently, when the bottoms of your tomatoes turn dark and spotty. The affected ones of mine have what look like black mildew spots on their round plump formerly green bottoms. It’s upsetting, but the internet (and my mother) inform me that it’s not the complete end of the world, because:

A) you can still eat tomatoes that have the rot on them. You have to cut off the spotty parts, of course, but there is still tomato there.

B) you can try to fix whatever is causing the rot.

B is my problem, though, because I think the cause is multifold. I have three big plants in one garden box, and they’re sharing the space with oregano, weirdly humongous marigolds, and a last-minute surprise zucchini squash plant that has also gone huge. The soil might lack calcium, or I might be watering wrongly. The soil is covered with landscape fabric, so it should already be holding in moisture and protecting the leaves/fruit from any dirt splashing up and blight. So, probable causes:

  • Crowded garden space
  • Low calcium soil
  • Overwatering
  • Underwatering
  • Uneven watering

I don’t know if I can move stuff. I don’t think so. I could put eggshells, lime, or dolomite in the soil. I could stop freaking out about watering. I could put a layer of mulch over the landscape fabric. I am not sure what to do! Though, ETA: did have a decent discussion on twitter about fixing the uneven watering. And these bubbies are indeterminate, so I have future time and fruit to play with.


A couple days ago as I was lulling E into napland, I caught the last part of a PBS gardening show.  The host was this calm, easygoing guy who had his raised boxes set up in a fenced-in garden area on his farm. He had silver hair and wore a green rubber wristband. At the end of the program, he showed off his box of broccoli. Apparently the temps had dipped cooler than he’d expected and the burgeoning plants had frozen. He talked about the disappointment in losing all those fresh, big, beautiful heads. Then he pointed out the places on the plants where side shoots were coming, and he showed his notebook where he noted down the temperature fluctuations. He closed with a basic but cheering thought: it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from it. Thanks, PBS guy!

ETA: It was the show Growing a Greener World, and the guy’s name is Joe Lamp’l. Five stars, will watch more than half a program again.


2 thoughts on “Can You Even Handle This Blossom End Rot

  1. “I did not know my headaches were migraines until my eye doctor informed me.” — how did your eye doc know? Did you have a weird vibratey/squiggly spot that moves about in your field of vision? I get those, and when I asked my eye doctor he told me they were optical migraines — basically migraines without the pain (which, y’know, I’m fine with).


    1. I have the occasional floater. I think that’s similar to what you have? But this was a little different — floaters/squigglies/spots aside, my doc’s office did one of those scans of the eye and retina, and we talked about the particular shape of my eye (football!) and she pointed at a little dipsydoodle formation on the screen and said, “do you get migraines? Because my patients who get migraines also have this.” So, probably not very scientific. :D

      Migraines without pain is a fascinating idea! I think this means you’re part of the X-men, somehow.


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