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Blossom ends got soft

by Debbie

Q. Seems like overnight the blossom ends of most tomatoes on one plant got soft, not discolored though. We've been having crazy weather last week was 107º and this weekend was 80º. Plants are in 5 gallon containers and I'm trying to maintain constant, even moisture. Not a great producing year for my first container garden. What can I do to prevent this from happening ... and what IS happening?

A. There are at least 4 possible reasons that soft spots are appearing on tomato ends.

  1. Bruising. If weather has been windy, or if children or pets brush by your containers, the fruit may be bruised.
  2. Sunscald. If soft patches appear on the side of the tomato with most exposure to the sun, they may be getting too many rays. With all those high temps you've had, this is a strong possibility.
  3. Anthracnose. This fungus appears as small, water-soaked lesions as the tomato ripens. If left on the vine long enough, the spots can darken. The fungus survives season to season in the soil. It splashes onto plants if they're not well mulched. If your container tomatoes aren't protected by mulch, or if you water in the evening, plants may be particularly susceptible -- especially since you've been so faithful about watering. Anthracnose can be treated by applying a biofungicide (organic) or fungicide (inorganic).
  4. Cottony leak/cottony rot. Fruit comes into contact with fungi in the soil. Areas of the fruit can appear water-soaked, and the infection leads to rot. If your fruit touches the soil, cottony rot could be the culprit. To prevent it, make sure fruit doesn’t touch soil. Apply mulch. Water the soil – not the plant.

    Good luck and happy gardening!

    Your friends at Tomato Dirt

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