The Trouble with Tomatoes, The Sequel
Yeah, still having trouble with tomatoes.
But I have good news and bad news. Let’s start with the good news. Actually, it’s great news. Despite all my worrying and woes the tomatoes survived their early start and the sunburn they suffered being planted on such a hot week.
I was so worried about them while I was in Scotland but when I came home they were getting lots of new growth and were filling out from their earlier spindly frame. It was such a relief!
June 3rd, just a few days after we got back, our first tomato appeared!
Then day by day, more tomatoes appeared and I thought that I was home free. Just sit back and reap the rewards!
For the next couple of weeks, I watched them grow and get more lush and beautiful every day.
The first trouble with tomatoes
Mid-June my first problem appeared. Flea Beetles. I’m doing my morning routine of watering and looking over my babies and I see that the lower leaves of some of my plants are yellow with brown spots. I knew that something was wrong.
Upon closer observation I see that there are tiny bugs on the leaves. I cut off a section of leaves and take it to the house and put it into a plastic zip back. Actually, I set the leaves on the counter to get a bag and when I do so, I see dozens of specks fall on to the counter. I brushed them into the bag with the leaves and grabbed a magnifying glass to get a closer look. All those specks were bugs.
I took a picture of the specks with my phone, magnified to the max and hit the internet. Within minutes, I learned that I had flea beetles. Now what? I’m not using Sevin on my babies. I mean, I’d like to stay organic with the food I am going to eat. More research, and Neem Oil is the winner. I ordered some from Amazon and used it as soon as I got it.
There was a huge improvement in leaves and I am retreating the leaves every week or so.
The second trouble with tomatoes
Next, I noticed that my San Marzano tomatoes have blossom end rot.
Only the San Marzanos. After hitting the old internet again, I learned that blossom end rot (BER) is caused by lack of calcium. Typically, this is due to either not enough or too much water, or inconsistent watering. I don’t think that I am guilty of that, but there it was, BER.
It is interesting that it is only on the San Marzanos, which are elongated like a plum tomato.
I found a you tube channel that recommended using antacid tablets like Tums to treat them. I did just that and I thought that it was working but I am still getting BER on my San Marzanos. So last night I ordered some STOP Blossom-End Rot from Amazon along with another product for my third tomato trouble below.
The third trouble with tomatoes
This one is the worst of all because it is just so disgusting. The dreaded Tomato Hornworm.
These guys are so gross that I either have to run back to the house and grab my gloves to remove them or cut off the leaf that they are on and put the whole thing in the jar that I keep in the garden.
Up to this point I have just been looking for them and picking them off. Yesterday on my daily garden tour I discovered a tomato leaf with a BUNCH of eggs on the bottom. I picked that leaf off and immediately started looking for any others.
It scared me enough that when I bought the blossom end rot stuff I also ordered a bottle of bacillus thuracide which should take care of those nasty worms.
Since this is my third year growing tomatoes and this is the first time I have had any trouble, I’m not going to whine about it. As I see it, the products that I have purchased to combat my various problems should last quite a while. All of them are concentrates and use only a little bit per application so I should be prepared to head off any of these problems for years to come.
I have already harvested a couple of tomatoes and looking forward to many more to come. I’m going to take it all in stride. Stay tuned!
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