why do tomatoes rot on the vine

When rotting spots form on the blossom end of ripening tomatoes, the condition is called "blossom end rot. " It may start out as a small spot, but it soon takes over most of the fruit. Blossom end rot is not caused by a pathogenic organism -- it is caused by environmental conditions that result in low levels of calcium and water in the fruit and plant. Tomatoes grown in sandy or low-moisture soils are most susceptible to blossom end rot.

Blossom end rot will not be cured with any pesticide because it is not caused by a pathogenic organism. Prevent blossom end rot by checking the soil moisture of your planted tomatoes and water them when the soil gets too dry, but do not overwater. Adding tomato fertilizer will help prevent blossom end rot by keeping your plants vigorous and free of nutritional deficiencies.
Sounds like your tomatoes have got a case of blossom end rot, a very common condition that is caused by a calcium deficiency that leads to disfiguration of developing fruit.

In general, the condition is not caused by a lack of calcium in the soil, but because the plant is unable to take up the calcium that is already there due to drought or an erratic watering schedule.

Do not despair. A lot of gardeners (myself included) have found themselves in your position this summer. Large parts of North America have been experiencing record highs, prolonged heat waves and a disturbing lack of rainfall. Keeping plants happy through these extremes has been a struggle, one that is made worse if you are growing in pots. To answer your question, yes you can cut off the rot and eat whatвs left of the fruit в it wonвt kill you or make you sick.

However, I find that the remaining fruit tends to be mealy and poor quality. If you do eat it, do so right away; do not try to can or preserve it. Fortunately, blossom end rot is not a viral, bacterial or fungal issue в you still have plenty of time to turn things around and produce primo tomatoes with a bit of due diligence.

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