In the Garden with Torrie and Ryan ~ Tomato Fail

By Ryan Sessions

The treasure of a summer garden is the heirloom tomato.  Our neighbors and family members are delighted when we have some to spare.  Who wouldn’t be impressed by a brightly colored fruit that looks and tastes unlike anything you can get from your local grocer?  We look like gardening superstars. 

What your neighbors and family don’t know is that they received only the “good ones” – the ones that have not been ravaged by birds, split from over watering, or marked with a mysterious, and highly unattractive brown spot.  Sometimes things don’t go as planned, and you have to break out the gardening anthology to find a solution.

Every gardener experiences this.  Many factors are in your control… spacing, watering, fertilizing- while others are not… unwelcome critters, mega heat-waves, unwelcome critters (Did I already mention that?).  There are times when your veggies make you stand back, scratch your head, and march into the house to start your Google search for the ailment that sadly plagues them.  This is where we’re at with our heirloom tomatoes this year. 

The not-so-perfect tomato or what lies beneath.

Things were looking great until these brown spots appeared on the bottom of each tomato.  Come to find, the very large blemishes are a phenomenon called “blossom end rot,” caused by a calcium deficiency.  Luckily, this is a common issue, and there are ways to fix it.  We found a spray that seems to be doing the trick.  We’ll be sure to keep you updated.

If you’re experiencing challenges, ailments, or just plain ol’ duds in your own garden, then guess what?  We’re all in the same boat.  There’s always a lesson to be learned, a pest to control, a weed to pick- a challenge to overcome.  As long as you keep a close eye on it, deal with the issues as they arise (to the best of your- or your veteran neighbor’s ability), and take note for the following year’s crop- then that oasis of yours is in excellent hands.

Photo credit: Torrie Sessions


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  • Mel

    I love that we’re not the only ones to slice out blemishes and bug holes for oursleves and give away the perfect specimens to others. Classic human nature!

  • katie//salt+pine

    I’m just jealous that you *can* grow tomatoes! It’s really difficult where we live unless you use a greenhouse. I miss homegrown tomatoes so much that I’m thinking of where to put a greenhouse in our backyard now. :)