Can You Put A Flower Bed Around A Lime Tree Managing Tomatoes Pests and Disease Without Using Heavy Chemicals

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Managing Tomatoes Pests and Disease Without Using Heavy Chemicals

Tomatoes are quite susceptible to pests and diseases, which can seriously affect the amount of fruit they produce. Climatic conditions play a large role in whether a pest or disease will become a problem. The best way to control pest and disease build-up is to implement integrated pest management (IPM) and crop rotation. By using these two methods, you don’t have to rely on harsh chemicals. IPM uses physical/mechanical, biological and chemical controls to manage pests and diseases. Crop rotation belongs to the physical/mechanical group, as you plant tomatoes in a different field each season.

Viruses, bacteria and fungal diseases can enter the plant through wounds such as broken stems or roots, or they can be transmitted by sap-sucking insects such as aphids, whiteflies, mites and mealybugs. Pathogens can also be spread by wind and water.

Tomatoes are summer/warm climate and are susceptible to fungal diseases that require moist conditions to thrive. The main fungal diseases are wilt and mold. These diseases are propagated by spores. Ideal conditions are: warm temperatures, moist air and a host plant such as tomatoes. Spores can also survive in soil, dead plant material and weeds growing nearby.

diseases

Signs of wilting are the lower leaves turning brown and papery, looking dry and droopy, while the top growth still looks healthy. The lower leaves look like they need water. But the disease disturbs the roots to absorb moisture. Watering actually makes the problem worse.

There are two types of mold – downy and powdery. Downy mildew is characterized by white spots or spots on the upper and lower part of the leaf. The characteristics of powdery mildew are that the spores of the fungus begin as small white dots that gradually spread over the entire leaf. It also affects buds, stems and fruits.

Pest and disease control measures:

  • Buy healthy seeds and seedlings
  • Practice rotating
  • Pick up any leaves from the ground and destroy them, do not compost
  • In winter, sprinkle the soil with lime sulfur – it destroys fungal spores
  • Do not water from above as it can spread fungal spores
  • Water at ground level
  • We plant grafted tomatoes, as they are more resistant to pests and diseases
  • Make sure there is plenty of sunlight
  • Make sure that air can circulate around the plants
  • Do not feed plants with nitrogen as it creates soft and succulent leaf growth that is susceptible to attack
  • Make your own fungicide. See the recipe below.
  • Apply fungicides early in the morning

Fungicide recipe:Mix one level teaspoon of baking soda in a liter of water. Add one pint of skimmed milk and a pinch of Condy’s crystals, which you can get from the manufacturer (someone who supplies horse owners). Shake thoroughly and spray on leaves. It only lasts about 1-2 days in the bottle.

Blossom-End Rot is a physiological disease caused by a lack of calcium or too much nitrogen. As far as calcium deficiency is concerned, this does not mean that the finger is deficient in calcium. There may be calcium in the soil, but the pH may be off, preventing the plant from accessing it. Tomatoes like soil with a pH between 5-7. If your soil pH is acidic and below 5, the plant may not be able to absorb calcium. To overcome this problem, it is recommended to use garden lime. This will raise the pH of the soil and allow the plant to access the calcium present in the soil. When preparing the soil for planting tomatoes, a good handful of lime per plant will help.

Pests

Tomatoes also attract their share of pests such as whitefly, aphids, mealybugs and mites. These are sap-sucking insects, and some can reproduce asexually. This means that a female is capable of producing many clones without a male. These pests are important to control as they can transmit viruses and bacterial diseases.

I recommend using low toxicity sprays like Long Life Pyrethrin or homemade garlic or chili spray. These types of sprays are called contact sprays and are easily washed off after rain or watering. They are not absorbed into the plant’s vascular system like systemic sprays such as Confidor. If you read my article Pests and Diseases of Vegetables, you will find recipes for making your own pesticides. A sign that your tomato has been attacked by sap-sucking insects is that the leaves curl or blister or turn a silvery color. When applying contact sprays it is important to actually spray them on the pests, so I suggest looking under the leaves as this is where many pests live.

Some cultural tips for growing healthy tomatoes

  • Place the plant in the sun
  • Check the soil pH and change it accordingly if necessary
  • Do not plant the bed too much
  • Before planting, prepare the soil properly with compost, blood and bones, potash and animal manure
  • If the day is going to be extremely hot, place a shade cloth over it
  • Water in the morning

The good thing about growing your own tomatoes is that you can control what pesticides you apply to them. If you decide to use heavy chemicals, it is essential that you follow the instructions regarding the holding period. The holding period is the number of days you have to wait before you can harvest the crop.

Growing tomatoes is very rewarding, but you have to fight against pests and diseases, otherwise you will find that your efforts are in vain. Observing and understanding what tomatoes need is the secret to growing healthy tomatoes. Integrated pest management and crop rotation are very valuable tools that, if put into practice, will reward you with delicious tomatoes without the use of unpleasant heavy chemicals.

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