Blossom end rot on tomatoes

I’ve heard (heard, mind you, I haven’t tried it) that boiling egg shells in a vinegar/water or other acidic solution will help the eggshells break down and release the Ca2+ ions into the water. You’d then let the water cool, and water your plants with it. I’ve been told it’s a quick fix (unlike fertilizers and mixing in eggshells which are more slow release).

If I start getting BER this year, I think I’ll try it. It would both deliver calcium ions directly into the soil and also help lower the pH of the soil immediately around the tomatoes, thus making the calcium that’s already there more available for the plant.

It sounds like it should work, but I wonder if anyone has given it a try and has some personal experience?

Bob, thanks for sharing all your analysis and comments. It helps when giving advice to people in your area. The soil tests you did were very informative. Everybody should do them. That red clay always seems to be acidic whereas our yellow and grey clay here is basic. Also full of minerals. Here in Michigan we have zero selenium in the soil. Livestock often contract white muscle disease from lack of selenium. New farmers and old for that matter feed livestock with local grains and such, so it happens every year. You have to give livestock mineral supplements if raised in Michigan.

That makes sense. Salicylic acid is a plant hormone involved in defense and disease resistance, and salicylic acid and acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) differ only by one side group.

It makes me wonder why I can’t turn up anything on using willow tea (Salix spp from which salicylic acid gets it name) as a natural disease spray on fruit trees. Putting the search terms “salicylic acid” and “Erwinia amylovora” into the googler turns up several results to suggest salicylic acid is probably involved in the plant’s defense.

Using aspirin is fine, or maybe not? As far as BER won’t do a thing, as it is a set of conditions that cause it, not any organism. .

Man this is a great thread! I’m super happy I started it now. Ive been super swamped the last two days so I’ll have to catch up on this stuff tonight. Lots of good info here.


Yes, we have some red clay in these parts, but our soil is darker, and more loose. They call it a gravelly loam, pretty porous. The CEC of our soil runs about 10, which means it’s hard to keep nutrients from leaching out. It would be nice to have a little more clay in there, but I’d rather have the soil the way it is, easier to get the pH up.

On our farm there is some land across the road in the creek bottom that is much more fertile, but can get occasionally flooded. I’m tempted to try to grow some veggies on that land. Don’t think I’d risk putting any fruit trees there, one because of flooding, and two, because its location would be bad for blooms getting bit during freezes. But, I’d have to ask the bro in-law for permission since it belongs to him. But, I don’t think he’d care, considering he doesn’t even live in Kentucky now.

That’s good land for sweetcorn not fruit trees. You’re better off up the hill with better soil and air drainage for fruit trees.

Yeah, I did consider putting in some corn there. I would say that the soil is better nutrient wise in the creek bottom, but prob more rocks to deal with.

Maybe I should have put my pecan whips down there, they seem to do well in creek bottoms back home.

I was out in the south pasture a couple days ago, and I think I might have lost a couple more of the pecans we planted out there last year. I tried to do a scratch test on a few of them and nothing. We’ve already lost a couple of them later last year.

So, it looks like my pecan experiment didn’t work out so well. But, from what I’ve read about pecan bare roots, I shouldn’t be too shocked.

Drew all of my maters are grown in containers. Are you saying that tap water should supply all the calcium needed? For me BER seems to come and go. I’ll get it for a time then it goes away and sometimes come back. I wouldn’t say its really bad but I certainly get more loss to it than you do. I think it due to sometime erratic watering based on me getting busy but I’m trying to get to the bottom of it for sure. Thanks for the great advice.


I have seen this stuff for years and I wondered if it works. Has anyone ever used it before?


No, I guess under my conditions, the last thing I need is calcium. Most fertilizers supply plenty, plus the water adds some, not sure why you would need more? Some feel more is better, I feel more can be worse. Enough calcium in the mix, and a chance of a very high pH restricting uptake of other nutrients. I myself would never on purpose add more calcium carbonate under any circumstances. The water is enough to raise pH. See it with blueberries, as have many others. Now Bob’s case with acidic soil, yes, makes a lot of sense to add calcium in any form you can. All gardening is local.

I used it one time several years ago and I don’t remember how well it worked. A version of the spray has been around a long time and it was over 30 years ago when I used it.

Amen to that! Thanks for the advice Drew. I’ll see how I do this year.


Yes it’s been around as long as I can remember so you would think it must work but I am skeptical for some reason. Don’t have any reason to be but I am! Thank you this is a really good thread!

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Keep us updated, I have a lot to learn, I like to know how others do. I really appreciate others experience. Many times my observations, or what I do is incorrect, and others show me why. It makes me a better gardener for sure. Helps me help others, lot’s of fun here for sure. I’m rough around the edges at times, just ignore it.

Hahaha! Your posts are great. I’m a little unrefined myself so trust me I get it. I know you grow a ton of veggies so believe me your experience on here is super valuable to all of us. I’ll try and remember to post pics of my tomatoes tomorrow at work.