The bottoms of my tomatoes are turning black

by Stan Meddles
(Richwood, OH)

Q. I only have 4 tomato plants. I planted them in mid May, I watered them every morning through our hot days and the first tomatoes were beautiful. Now about 4 out of 5 have blossom rot. Somebody told me I could pour some powdered milk at their root system and that would help?

A. There are several reasons why your tomatoes may have developed blossom end rot, including the excessive heat.

But more important now is how to treat them!

Blossom end rot cannot be reversed on a tomato once it’s set in, but you can take these steps to slow and halt it.


  • Preserve affected plants by applying calcium immediately. You can use these natural products specifically developed to treat, prevent, and slow blossom end rot in tomatoes: Enz-Rot Blossom End Rot (a concentrate that can make up to 8 gallons) and Tomato Rot-Stopicon (in a ready-to-use spray bottle.) Follow package directions for application. Follow package directions for application. Or mix 1 tablespoon calcium chloride (sold commercially for other uses as de-icing salt or DampRid® Closet Freshener) in one gallon of water. Spray 2-3 times a week until blossom end rot is under control. Apply early in the morning when temperatures are cool. Garden sprayers are available at Garden.com and Gardens Alive!.
  • Pick affected fruit to reduce stress on the plant and allow it to direct its energy to other tomatoes.
  • Cut out spots on harvested fruit and eat remainder. Blossom end rot does not make the rest of the tomato inedible. However, if tomatoes have been infected by fungi or mold, discard them.

As far as applying powdered milk, many gardeners swear by it. Try it and see if it works for you!

You can read all about preventing blossom end rot in next year’s crop so you're ready proactively.

Good luck and happy gardening!
Your friends at Tomato Dirt

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