Blossom End Rot on the Upside Down Tomato Plant

Blossom End Rot of Tomatoes
Blossom End Rot on Tomatoes

From a distance, the upside down tomato plant looks like it is thriving.  I’ve been watering every evening that it doesn’t rain.  However, we had above average rainfall in June, and July has been pretty wet so far too.  This evening when I was watering, I noticed that the cute little tomatoes on the upside down tomato plant all had black bottoms.  Although I’ve never seen blossom end rot on such small tomatoes, I’m pretty sure that’s what it is.

Upside Down Tomato Plant
Upside Down Tomato Hanger

Blossom end rot is usually caused by excessive moisture or inconsistent moisture content in the soil which causes a calcium deficiency.  It has been difficult to keep the plant evenly watered due to all the rain followed by hot, summer days.

Blossom End Rot of Upside Down Tomatoes
Blossom End Rot of Upside Down Tomatoes

Once the fruit is diseased, there’s nothing that can be done, other than to remove them from the plant, which I did.  I’ll have to keep a closer eye on the planter and make sure that it doesn’t dry out too much, or get waterlogged.  It is hanging in an area that gets full sun and plenty of air circulation so I don’t think that’s the problem.  I may try adding a layer of mulch to the inside of the planter to help retain moisture evenly.

Organic Heirloom Tomato Plant
Brandywine Organic Heirloom Tomato Plant Grown in a Raised Bed Garden

The tomato plants that are growing in the raised bed garden are very healthy and have shown no signs of blossom end rot.  It is much easier to keep the moisture content consistent  in the raised beds.

Growing Organic Tomatoes
Organic Tomatoes Grown in a Raised Garden Bed

These Brandywine Heirloom tomatoes look and smell delicious. Can’t wait until they’re ripe and ready for the table!

10 Reasons Why I Grow Organic

Bees on flowers
Bees on flowers

The benefits of gardening without the aid of toxic pesticides and herbicides seem very obvious to me, yet it was only about 10 years ago that I stopped using chemicals to control insects and weeds.

I was recently reminded of some of the reasons why I stopped using herbicides and pesticides on my lawn and in my gardens.  My neighbor was applying lawn spray to her yard and the smell of the chemicals in the overspray that blew into our yard as I was tending my garden was overpowering, to the point that I almost couldn’t breath.  I had to quit my outdoor chores and go inside to get away from the overpowering odor.  I kept our dog inside for as long as possible after she finished spraying so that he wouldn’t be exposed to the spray too, since most lawn chemicals are toxic to animals as well as humans.

Here are some reasons for choosing to “grow organic.”  I’m sure there are many more, but these are my own personal motivators.

10 Reasons to Grow Organic

  1. No exposure to toxic chemicals for humans and pets
  2. Don’t need to worry that toxins aren’t totally washed off before eating produce
  3. Less expensive
  4. Builds soil quality year after year instead of degrading it
  5. Encourages beneficial insects (and subsequently birds) in my gardens
  6. No contamination of runoff into sewers
  7. Reduces waste in landfills – compost used to build soil encourages recycling of kitchen and yard waste
  8. Organic (heirloom and non-hybrid seeds) can be harvested for next year’s crops
  9. Food tastes better
  10. Teaches kids to take care of the environment

I’m interested in hearing what motivates you to grow organic – or why you choose not to.  Please  share your comments.

Twisted Tomato

Topsy Turvy "Twisted" Tomato
Topsy Turvy "Twisted" Tomato

Update on the upside down tomato planter – Topsy Turvey planted May 27.

The cherry tomato plant is twisting it’s way towards the sun, as is common when growing tomatoes upside down.  Tomatoes require lots of sun so it’s only natural that the plant will grow upwards toward the light.  Otherwise the plant looks healthy so far.  I did have to relocate the pole and planter  to an area that gets about 8 hours per day.  It was staked behind the pond and wasn’t getting enough sunlight.

It is necessary to water daily and I suspect that even if it rains, you may need to water, since the opening at the top of the planter is not that large, and the soil dries out very quickly.  I did use an organic potting mix, but when properly watered, the Topsy Turvey upside down planter is quite heavy, so you will need a solid, heavy duty stake or hanger to hold the filled bag.  The tomato plant looks to be doing about as well as the plants that I planted in the raised bed garden on the same day, which I water daily also, except when it rains.  I’ll continue to provide updates on the progress of both methods here.