I have been researching tomato rot extensively and what can be done with tomato fruits that look partly affected with tomato rot. Is it safe to eat them? So, I have put together this resource that looks at whether its safe to eat tomatoes that have blossom end rot. Can you eat tomatoes that have been affected with Blossom end rot?
Yes, you can eat tomato fruits that have been affected by Blossom end rot. In fact, it is 100% safe for you to do so. However, your tomato fruits will be slightly smaller in quantity after taking off the bottom where the blossom end rot has affected the fruit. That’s the only part you should not eat as it is the part that has been affected. Simply cut off that part and enjoy the rest of the tomato. On top of that, ensure that you properly dispose of the affected part.
One of the most common problems that tomato gardeners are facing is a disorder which is called Blossom end rot. This disorder occurs when there is an insufficient supply of calcium to the tomato plants, which causes the fruits to start rotting on the Blossom end, hence the name Blossom end rot.
But really, Blossom end rot all dials back to the lack of enough calcium mineral-rich water by the plant. Without proper caution on the symptoms of Blossom end rot, it can end up affecting all your tomato plants, leaving no stone unturned. But you have waited so desperately to eat these tomatoes. What do you do?
What is Blossom end rot?
Blossom end rot is a serious disorder that commonly affects tomato plants. Besides that, it is also known to occur on pepper, cucumber, and eggplant.
As we said earlier, Blossom end rot is most often caused by uneven watering or by calcium deficiency. These can be related in a way that uneven watering can interfere with the uptake of calcium. Unlike most cases, Blossom end rot is actually called an environmental problem (not fungal). In, other words, it is not a disease at all.
This condition is often brought on by rapid growth from too much fertilizer, high salt levels or drought.
While Blossom end rot symptoms occur on both green and ripe fruits, It is very common for Blossom end rot to start very early in the season, which is likely before the tomatoes start ripening.
Generally, Blossom end rot is identified by water-soaked areas that progressively widen and mature into sunken, brown, leathery spots on the bottom end.
In a lot of cases, secondary pathogens attack the affected area and cause complete rotting of the fruit. You will be glad to know that Blossom end rot will not spread from plant to plant. However, it can spread on the same plant, from fruit to fruit.
How to Control and prevent Blossom end rot
The positive side about blossom end rot is the fact that it can be controlled and prevented. Here are the main steps you can take to ensure that you are always a step ahead of the condition.
Since Blossom end rot is caused by insufficient watering, maintaining a steady level of moisture on your garden will go a long way to keep your plant from getting dry.
To do this, simply add a layer of mulch to the soil. If you don’t know what this is, a mulch is basically a covering on the garden soil. As such, you will need great materials such as straw, wood chips and many other things
When it rains, the mulches get soaked in water. If the rains don’t come, just ensure that your plants are given a great amount of water that will be enough to soak into the ground while leaving some on the mulches for moisture upkeep.
Also, make sure you plants are watered at least twice a week, and more times when it’s really hot. You have to check how much water you are watering on them though. How? Simple. Stick your fingers in the dirt around the tomato and confirm that it’s soaked a couple of inches down.
On the other hand, you could go for water cones in order to ensure that your soil is supplied with a steady amount of water, which will go directly to the roots
While watering your tomato garden has its benefits, it could lead to disastrous effects if it is overdone. Roots tend to drown if the soil is too wet. So, if your garden is facing a heavy nonstop rainfall, trench drainage away from your tomato plants. You may also boost new roots by heaping up layers of compost around the base of your tomato plants.
Unlike in ground tomato plants, pot plants are more prone to blossom end rot, you should consider having a self-watering container and water them much more regularly.
Fertilize your tomato plants properly
For the most part, tomatoes go very well with aged manure. There are so many good organic fertilizers that really give you tomato plants the jump start that they require.
However, make sure that you don’t overdo it with the compost manures as they can have unwanted effects on your tomato plant.
Also, stay away from using synthetic fertilizers in your garden. Here, consider going for synthetic fertilizers that are low in nitrogen.
Generally, nitrogen was made to assist plants on developing healthy and vibrant leaves. Adding fertilizers that are high in nitrogen will end up avert most of the nutrients away from the fruits. Instead, you should go for fertilizers that are high in superphosphate. Also, do not overdo it.
Ensure that the soil is kept at a warm temperature
A soil temperature of at least 60°F (15.6°C) supports germination of seeds. For transplants, though, it can be anywhere from 55°F (13°C), but growth will be quite slow. The trick here is to wait for nighttime, since temperatures in the night will usually hit 55°F
In case you are wondering, the temperature of soil is measured and monitored using a device called a soil thermometer.
However, if you still feel that the temperatures aren’t hot enough to set your tomato plants, you can simply raise the temperature by covering the planting area with either a black plastic. A red plastic can also help.
Avoid cultivating close to your plants
It is important to avoid cultivating or working close to your tomato plants, mainly because you could potentially harm the stem or the roots of your tomato plants. So, I just suggest staying away. If you need to do something like, let’s say remove weeds, just pull them out with your hands, but only when you need to. The harder weeds can be taken out with a hoe. Just do this lightly.
The idea is that you should not attack the ground very close to the tomato. Instead, you can go for the mulch setup that we talked about. Mulching helps in limiting the need for cultivation. Also, it is very tough for weeds to grow under a mulched garden. It’s a “two birds with one stone” situation here.
Check and maintain the pH levels of your soil
For tomatoes, ensure that the pH level ranges from 6.2 to somewhere around 6.8. It doesn’t have to be too much or too less. If you are wondering how you can find out the level of soil pH in your garden, a soil test will help.
Once you know the pH level of your soil, it will be very easy for you to modify it to suit you tomato plants. In other words, you will know whether to raise or drop the pH level.
To raise the soil pH, add some calcium through liming the garden bed. On the other hand, to lower pH levels, you can use organic mulches. The application of compost manure will also help.
Supplement calcium to your soil
Adding some calcium to the soil can be a brilliant way to lessen the likelihood of an occurrence of blossom end rot.
You can do this by applying crushed eggshells. However, eggshells do not decompose right away. In fact, they take a lot of time. Because of this, you should apply them at planting time or sometime before you plant.
Besides eggshells, you can also add garden lime or gypsum to your soil.
Note: you should only go for this method when the soil test has indicated that there is a low level of calcium in the soil.
Go for tomato varieties that are less inclined to blossom end rot
There are so many tomato varieties out there, with some being more prone to Blossom end rot than others.
Studies have concluded that the varieties that the tomato varieties that are most prone to blossom end rot are San Marzano, Orange Banana and Better Boy.
ON the other hand, the ones that are less prone to rot are Amish Paste, Opalka, Stupice, Glacier, Black Cherry, Arkansas Travelera and Tigerella, among so many other varieties.
To sum up, tomatoes that have been affected with Blossom end rot are very safe to eat. But you should never eat the Bottom end that has been affected.
Instead, cut that part off and dispose of it, preferably where your dog won’t find it. Then, you can use the rest of the tomato. However, if the damage is just too bad on the tomatoes, you may have to dispose of the whole tomato.