Organic Tomato Fail and Rebound

Heirloom Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
This should be the post where I show you the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes we've grown in the family garden.  The plants are producing, the yields have the potential to be high.  But this photo that really is from our garden doesn't tell the whole story...

From the top, our heirloom Cherokee purple tomatoes look perfect.  Yet, somewhere along the way, key minerals got out of balance.  The plants did not have enough calcium at the critical time when they were setting fruit while we happened to hit a drought with temperatures up to 105 degrees.

I've resisted the urge to buy something in a bottle to help solve this.  But I'm finally resorting to trying some spray on calcium chloride, in hopes that the summer's next round of tomatoes will develop without the rot.  I accidentally bought a bottle of something else that I thought was a natural treatment, misreading the label, and it's time to head back to the garden store.

I see that even seasoned gardeners occasionally run into a bout with blossom end rot.  North Carolina extension information offers some tips on prevention and treatment.  Here's another rather innocent sounding explanation of how the disorder can happen, and why it may have more to do with watering and drought than anything.  This is disorder, not a contagious plant disease.  And any salvageable parts of the tomatoes can be eaten.

The cherry sweetie tomatoes from Sow True Seed look more encouraging.  They grow on little branches that hold 12 to 20 small tomatoes in a group.  And finally some of those are ripening! How does your garden look?  If you're growing with Sow True Seed's open pollinated and heirloom varieties, you have a chance to win by submitting photos of your garden produce. Here's more information.
Organic Cherry Sweetie Tomatoes from Sow True Seed