All plants (especially tomatoes) need calcium to produce strong cell walls, which in turn help to protect the plants from attacks by pathogens which cause disease. In addition to fighting disease, calcium is also essential for enzyme activity, plant vigor and metabolism.
One of the biggest plagues to tomato plants is blossom end rot. This condition develops in tomatoes mostly due to a calcium deficiency in the soil. It manifests itself as a watery spot near the blossom end (the bottom) when the tomato is about one-third developed. Eventually, the spot will darken and spread quickly, destroying the fruit and rendering it inedible. Using a fertilizer that is high in calcium will help to prevent blossom end rot.
At Coast of Maine Organic Products, we understand that calcium perhaps plays more roles in the overall health of the plant and the soil than any other nutrient (including nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium). We know that if we get the calcium right in our hand-crafted compost blends and fertilizer, most of our work is done.
Chitin serves as a rich food source for soil microbes which, in turn, provide the soil ecosystem and plants with essential building blocks for healthy growth. Most recent studies point out that chitin is a good inducer of defense mechanisms in plants and helps them develop healthy immune systems.
So, here’s how to start off your tomato plants right!
Putting the calcium right around the root ball means that it’s going to be readily available and give your tomato plants the boost that they need. The process is extremely simple.
1. Purchase either Quoddy Blend Lobster Compost or Bumper Crop. Both are dark, nutrient-rich composts made with lobster and crab shells that are composted with aspen bark. The composted shells are a rich source of calcium and chitin and make an exceptional addition to our organic compost.
2. Amend the planting hole with equal parts of existing garden soil and Quoddy Blend or Bumper Crop.
3. After planting, topdress with Lobster and Kelp organic fertilizer according to the directions on our bag.
4. Ensure that the tomato plants receive at least an inch of water a week.
Happy gardening from your friends at Coast of Maine Organic Products!
Visit us at www.coastofmaine.com
By: Sue Lavallee