Tomatoes sometimes become sick during the growing season. We will give you some of the causes, and some preventive measures you can take to have a healthy gardening experience.
Tomatoes can be attacked by a combination of problems. Insects, bacteria,fungus, viruses are the most common. Environmental factors often are the reason, some of these are over watering, excessive sunlight and temperature swings. Another problem is poor soil, it weakens their immune system.
Also insects can spread disease just by traveling from an infected plant to a healthy one. For instance, Thrips can carry spotted wild virus. Beet leaf hoppers are a major carrier of curly top virus. If you commonly have problems with these pests you will want to grow a variety that is resistant to them. There are cultivars that are naturally resistant to different viruses. Talk to your local Garden Center personal, they are very knowledgeable about what varieties will do best in your area.
If you have a sick plant, treat it quickly or remove it completely from your garden to help prevent the further spreading of disease. Remember if you prune diseased plants DO NOT compost trimmings , this may further spread the disease. The best thing to do is burn the trimmings. And remember to clean your shears completely after having any contact with infected plants.
Another way to help prevent pests is to do “companion planting” some companions to the tomato plant are Marigolds, Carrots and Nasturtiums. Plant them next to the tomatoes or around the border of the garden, they release scents that naturally repel many insects. You can also try “sacrifice planting”this is the practice of planting a plant that is more attractive to insects than tomatoes.
For example, plant some sweet corn on the opposite side of the garden, a large percentage of tomato fruit worms will be diverted to the corn plant. When the corn becomes infected and has eggs layed on it, pull it out of the garden and discard it, again burning is the preferred way to get rid of it. This will eliminate the next generation of pests before they hatch.
The following are some solutions to common tomato problems
. Use mulch to hold moisture on hot days
. Space tomatoes far enough apart to allow good air circulation
. Harvest fruit quickly after it becomes ripe, over ripe tomatoes attract pests
. Make sure any compost used is fully decomposed or it can attract pests
. Support tomatoes with cages to promote good air circulation
. Always feed you plant with a well balanced all purpose liquid plant food we suggest “Watch Us Grow” all purpose liquid plant food
Thank You to all of our gardener friends and we really appreciate your support. Please contact us anytime with any questions, The Watch Us Grow Team