Squash Plants
Q.

Blossom End Rot on Squash

frankcigna added on July 5, 2011 | Answered

I started my garden in 1999. It went from 100 sq. ft. to 150 sq. ft. The first few years I had no blossom end rot. I'd grow 3 plants to a hill on two corners of my garden - a total of 6. I'd have so much squash I wouldn't know what to do w/them. Then it started. I even got my soil analyzed. This year they recommended no calcium. I guess because my soil pH is in the optimum range and my magnesium is above optimum. My calcium is in the below optimum range but at the high end. Let's say that there's 9 parts to a range, my calcium level is in the 8 part, close to the start of optimum. With all this considered, I reckon that's the reason they are not recommending any calcium. What do you think? Thank you, Frank

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Heather
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on July 7, 2011

It does sound like teh calcium levels are not the cause of your problems with blossom rot.

Blossom end rot is typically a watering issue more than a calcium issue. If the plants can't take up enough water, they can't take up enough calcium.

I would look at adding more organic material to the soil (such as compost, peat or rotten manure - though make sure you don't over do it with the manure). This will help the soil hold onto more water longer, which will make it easier for the plants to take up enough water, and therefore teh calcium that the plants need to produce fruit well.

You may also want to do away with the hilling practice. It has been found over the past few years that while hilling can facilitate germination and makes weed control a little easier, it does make it a little harder for plants to get the water they need as hills dry out faster.

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