Q: I’ve successfully grown patio tomatoes on my deck for 3 years. This year, most of the tomatoes suffer from some sort of brownish blotches. It is also happening to my green pepper plants in the pots. Any suggestions?
A: The fruit damage is blossom end rot, which is caused by a lack of calcium in the cells at the blossom end of the fruit when it is young. Blossom end rot is not a disease. It won’t spread to other plants.
This condition is typically caused by fluctuating soil moisture. Gardening in pots makes it hard to keep moisture levels constant. A large plant in a small pot may dry the soil completely in one day. You’d almost have to water it in morning and afternoon to keep the soil constantly moist.
When you first see blossom end rot, spray plants with a “blossom end rot spray” containing calcium chloride. The spray won’t cure your damaged tomatoes but it will help protect young ones that haven’t developed the condition.