Finally figured out - with the help of a couple of knowledgeable local
folks - that my tomatoes have tomato spotted wilt virus . Nasty little bugs
called thrips are the vector , and the key is to control them . There are
many solutions presented , most of which call for insecticides ... which
ain't gonna happen here . The least toxic solutions however involve using a
soap solution , and this is my first choice . I have a mixture of Ivory soap
, water , and some red pepper extract that I used last year for some bugs on
some plants , and that is what I will be using . I have already wetted about
half of my tomatoes with this , will do the rest tomorrow before the dew
The only drawback to soap is that it's not at all persistent , you have to
spray the little buggers and wet them to be effective . I guess it'll mean
spraying a couple of times a week for a couple of weeks , but worth the
effort if it makes the difference between getting a crop and not ...
Also in the spirit of natural and organic , I'm using fish emulsion now
I'm seeing something , small bugs the right size , around 1-2 mm . Also
seeing what might be a predator bug that preys on them , but there were only
a couple of them on one or two plants . I've been told the problems get a
lot better when we get into the hotter drier part of summer . Plants are
pretty puny for this late in June though , hopefully they'll do better .
Seems like it's something different every year .
It is something different every year, as weather benefits some
critters or conditions and controls or eliminate others. Hot, cold,
wet, dry, when that all happen at the right times of year and for
Some years the beans do well, other years the cukes and squash, some
years the tomatoes or the lettuces or the corn, or...well you get the
idea. Ya just gotta roll with it, do your best to have healthy soil
and gardening techniques and keep hoping every spring.
One things I have done with tomatoes is that I always plant several
varieties of cherries. I find that even if there is tomato disaster
that takes out the big juicy varieties, there is always something that
can be rescued on the cherry tomatoes.
And they are some tiny little ba***rds . At .040 to .080 inches long , I
have to look closely to see them , and then see them only in strong sunlight
. They're actually about the same size as bee eggs - and they too can be
hard to see .
It looks like soapy water is not going to do the job , they were worse
this morning than before I sprayed the plants . After some research I have
decided to try a spinosad product called "Captain Jack's Deadbug" . It has
low toxicity to my bees when dried , and covers several types of bugs that
have been problematic in the past . It's labeled "for organic gardening" for
what that's worth . I figured this is the next-least toxic solution , let's
hope I don't need to step up to anything more toxic .
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