Q: Last year I had the ends rot out of watermelon and cantaloupe. What can I put on the plants to prevent the end rot?
Q: Last year I had the ends rot out of watermelon and cantaloupe. They bloom but no fruit developed. This year, I planted zucchini instead and I am getting the same problem. The fruit is rotting out from the bloom end. I now have cantaloupe in bloom, but no fruit started.
A: Blossom end rot is a common problem on plants in the melon family. The root cause generally is the lack of calcium in the soil or the ability of the plant to update calcium. We would suggest you have your soil tested every few years. The cost is minimal ($7) and the University of Florida will run a complete nutrient analysis for you – money well spent. Vegetables grow best when the pH of the soil is close to 6.5. In addition to being sure the soil has enough calcium it is equally important that water be available on a regular basis so the uptake of nutrients to the plant is efficient. If the plants experience drought at the time when the blossom or fruit is forming then maturity of the fruit or rot can occur. You can come to the Yulee satellite office or the main office in Callahan to obtain a soil test kit. Call us for directions 904 – 530-6350 – Yulee or 904 530-6353 – Callahan.