Adding calcium to tomatoesCheck out this article regarding tomatoes, Got calcium? Your tomatoes need it by Debbie Johnson, June 21, 2015.  It really looks at the current growing conditions of tomatoes and makes the case for adding calcium to help insure proper growth of your tomato plants.

Plant cells have rigid cell walls. To build those walls, the plant needs calcium. “Calcium is to cell walls what the cement is in a brick wall. It gives it structural strength,” said David Trinklein, horticulture specialist for University of Missouri Extension. After being taken up by the roots, calcium moves through the plant in the vascular tissue via “mass flow.” The latter requires water, Trinklein said. If there isn’t enough water to carry the calcium or enough calcium to be carried by the water, then the mineral cannot reach the distal (blossom) end of the fruit, and those walls break down. The result is a dark, sunken spot. One of the best ways to control blossom-end rot is to test the soil before you plant your tomatoes. “In most Missouri soils, if the pH is at the ideal level of 6.2-6.5, there likely is sufficient calcium in the soil,” Trinklein said. If a soil test shows the pH is fine but the soil still needs calcium, then adding something like calcium sulfate, also called gypsum, will boost the calcium levels without changing the pH. In Missouri, improper watering typically causes blossom-end rot, he said. With all the rain this year, our tomato plants are nearly drowning.“Oddly enough, a plant that is overwatered has difficulty taking up water,” Trinklein said. “It’s called water wilt.” When plants are standing in water, their roots don’t get enough oxygen. This damages the cell membranes and the roots can’t take up sufficient water to deliver needed calcium to the fruit. Source:  Got calcium? Your tomatoes need it by Debbie Johnson, June 21, 2015

Some great advice if you are having issues with your garden tomatoes. It starts with a soil test and looking at your pH and soil nutrient levels. From here, proper recommendations can be made with respect to soil analysis.

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