Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Sorry this post isn't about my fab 4th weekend. (Stay tuned). You simply will not believe what is going on in my garden. First, I have to explain why this is so ironic (and random). As we discussed earlier last week, I have many nicknames. This one (Ber) is special because it has now become one of my major focuses for the summer.

Background Info:  So, You just read that one of those many nicknames is Ber. This lovely little name was given to me by some of long time friends from the S.Cack (which I get to see next week...holla!).  Thank you D, Jenn, and J-Bob for creating your own name for me at the Silver wHOlesale many years ago. I must also give a shout out to T-Bar who probably never actually knew my real name when I worked there (he started after me). This new name began nearly the same week I moved to Myrtle Beach, during one of my early 20's adventures. Since then, it has stuck and I just love hearing anyone refer to me as Ber since that means I am among good friends. When I'm down in South-cack I answer to Ber without even thinking. Lucky, I'm the kinda girl that I can just evolve no matter where I am. That's what I do.

Although I would just simply love to rant and rave about myself (imagine that), the one and only true "Ber," I must skip to the actual focus of my blogging project for today. Excitement ensuing? I knew it... Moving on...

Let me introduce you to the new BER that is taking over my life right now.

Yes my gardening friends,this is nothing other than the dreaded demise of my most precious tomato babies. Blossom End Rot. Ewww. Now, how the heck am I supposed to be canning homemade salsa this summer if my tomatoes look like shizzle and all I've gotten is 1 good tomato so far? Let's discuss.

Here is what I got the other night from my garden.

Complete Shizzle I tell you.
 I can't even believe they look like that since after all my garden looks so perfectly fresh an inviting. Let's examine their downfall.

First, hubby built me these super large really trendy garden boxes for my planting delight. (And he looked so handy building them, all sweaty and tanned. You know hard working man-type. It was a delicious scene.)

Next, my babies started getting bigger as you can see here

Then, they were all fallin' over cause they were thriving with growth and I had to get some big metal circle thingys to hold them up. But, that still wasn't enough. In order to hold up the majority of the plant, you must tie it in some fashion so that it doesn't hang over everything and it can continue growing straight and tall. See, tomato stems are really delicate and you can't just use any ole' fastening object to tie those suckers up. Also, the weight of the plant can be very difficult to work with. So, one of fashions' best accessories just made it into my garden. You can say I do have the most accessorized garden in our neighborhood. You can also say that to "tie the plant in some fashion" just brought on a whole new meaning in my world.

Remember these stems from this past February?
LC is giving me quite a look there...Must be the VS panty hose.
Well these, V.S. panty hose are now rescuing my tomato plants from falling over. Who knew Vickies could offer fundamental problem solving for 2 important areas; lingerie and gardening? Clarification: The panty hose are soft and delicate enough (and also clean) so that the plant stems will not be damaged, yet strong enough to hold the plant erect (I just couldn't help my self). Also, the elasticity of the panty hose allows the stems to continue in expansion while the plant continues to grow throughout the summer. Brilliant I know.

So, since I fixed that little problem, clearly I should be able to fix a little BER (blossom.end.rot) problem. Ber fixing BER? Bahahhahahah I am up for the challenge!

I first researched how this happened and then began searching for a solution. The daughter of a NC Forester, it would bring such shame if I couldn't get this right. Here is what I found out.

1. My first mistake was not getting a soil test from my local Cooperative Extension. It is also free. Contact Carl Cantaluppi at the Extension office (for all my fellow citizens on the Rox). I should know this!!!!! After all I am a Family and Consumer Sciences Major. Complete FAIL.

2. The soil becomes imbalanced between droughts and an unusual amount of rain and / or over-watering. The soil needs moisture consistency. B.E.R is also due to the amount of calcium absorbed through the plant in order to produce the fruit in a healthful way. Major science lesson here.

So, How do we add calcium? Well, I am a quick fix kinda person. I don't like mistakes and I like to see problems fixed promptly. Here are some suggestions that I researched: 

-powdered milk
-crushed egg shells
bone meal tea
-Tums tablets

While researching, the experts like to rub in that Prevention is key. Well Duh.
Some sites recommend removing affected fruit from the plant to reduce stress throughout. I did that which is how I got a compost pile full of about 20 + rotting tomatoes. Gross. Ewww. Etc. Many sources also say that this process is typical in the early season. Amber doesn't do early....EVER.. I want it right . ALL the TIME.

I decided to try one of the suggestions. Because I already had a full bottle of TUMS at home, I decided to try that first. I looked like a complete addict in my kitchen y'all. Little round pills all over the counter as I'm putting the medicine like tablets into little plastic baggies. I used my handy dandy Pampered Chef food chopper to chop those suckers up into a fine like powder. (So, would by food chopper be considered Drug paraphernalia?) The fine powder will be more likely to absorb quicker and since the soil was already moist from the rain we just got, it was a good time to do it. Then, I divided the powder among the plants and here's what I got...
Those large TUMS you see, well....Georgia Anne helped me 'plant' those....
 I don't know if this will help or not or if the gardening gods will be laughing their butts off at my quick fix. I just know that I cannot have this anymore.. Goodbye B.E.R!!!!! (hopefully)

Finally, one last bit of hope for my babies. While I was pulling away at all those tomatoes I did find one scrumptious tomato that was just right. GA will probably eat that thing like an apple. My little girl LOVES tomatoes! It does give me hope that I'm not a complete failure in the tomato world. Isn't it pretty?
Note to self: my hand looks abnormally chubby in this photo.  Give camera a thorough scolding!
Happy gardening y'all. July 4th weekend post coming up tomorrow. It was a doozie here on the Rox over the weekend. I can't wait to share all the classic Rox photos (some secretly taken). Until tomorrow then...

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Thank you for reading and following my blog. I would love to hear what you have to say! Love, Amber