Seed Swaps

General Notes on Tomatoes and Pests

23 May 2011
Storms 23°C / 74°F

I’ve been horrible about keeping track of what’s going on in my garden lately. Of course, I think the fact is that everyone who comes over wants to see what’s going on in this experiment, and I spend a lot of time out there proudly explaining how great everything is going.

My tomatoes are putting on buds! My eyes are glazing over at the off chance that I may get some early-produced tomatoes. Small victories, perhaps, but for a first-year from seed gardener in a new growing zone, I feel like I’m producing miracles on the south side of my home!

This is a week after discovering flea beetles had found my Cherokee Purples and Mortgage Lifters. Being my first infestation of any sort of pest (oh how I never would have guessed I’d miss that tiny third floor balcony garden I started off with in Iowa… I never had any pest problems there), I spent a good two days FREAKING OUT about flea beetles. And then the organic pest control spray I finally decided to give a shot, I forgot to shake. It burnt my Cherokee Purples’ leaves… Oops. It’s recovering just fine, though. But I have learned my lesson in going for the quick fix in my garage instead of going to locate more benign methods elsewhere.

I’m left pondering the leaves on one of my two spinach plants. It’s covered in small holes, which I’m guessing is flea beetles’ handiwork, too. I’ll be out tonight looking to see if I get any more clues. The other plant, however, is completely untouched… And the leaves have grown close enough to be touching the infested plant. I guess that makes my job of picking which of the two to save seeds from easier. As soon as it stops raining again, I’ll be putting sticky traps out.

The other place I found one or two flea beetles was on my eggplants… Which are on my window seal still. Inside. Clearly this is going to be a long summer with the jerks.

Today I found a lone yellow armyworm on my Mortgage Lifters getting ready to chow down. I removed him before going inside to identify what he was, and I put him down in our giant field of weeds I’m not allowed to take care of (and our apartment maitenance team seems to not be too concerned about). He’s more than welcome to defoliate as much as he wants of it! Inspecting all of my plants, the little guy was the only one there. I’ll check again tonight for more, since I’ve read they typically hide in soil during the day.

I’m obviously happy he was the only one so my plants aren’t being feasted upon. But I also am happy, because I feel absolutely horrible killing anything. I’m sure I’ll eventually get over it when something takes out an entire plant or I finally am forced to kill enough of one thing or another. (I cried the other day while putting out ant traps, and our home is a no-kill zone for spiders.)




I’m glad to know I’m not the only one that carries insects out of house and garden to remote fields :) Sometimes just spraying plants with good ol’ water dislodges bad bugs. I was amazed this was all it took to get rid of the spider mite break out on hundreds of plants in my greenhouse this past winter.

Posted on 23 May 11 (about 7 years ago)

You are not the only one. :) I talk to them about why I’d appreciate them staying away from my plants. I also scurry around in the rain at night to move earthworms off the cement driveway while squealing “I’m trying to help you!” as they struggle to get away from me. These things, teamed with taking my cat out on a leash, has deemed me the neighborhood weirdo. But as one neighbor told me the other day: There are worse types of weirdos to have in the neighborhood than a tree-hugger. Hehe.

And yes, I’m going to have to retry the water method. It’s worked well in the past on my indoor orchids. Why I didn’t think about it mid-freak out is beyond me. Oof!

Posted on 23 May 11 (about 7 years ago)

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