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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Organic methods for keeping bugs away from tomatoes.

So, I get a note form a friend. She says:

I was wondering what you would suggest for keeping pests off of better boy tomatoes? I like organic means, but I want to protect my yummy harvest. Last year we had aphids, stinkbugs, and tomato hornworms. Any suggestions?

I replied:

Goodness, that's a load of bugs! If you want to go organic, which I whole-heartedly agree is best, you may want to invest in lady bugs for the aphid problem. You may have to order those from which sell only organic things for pest control and elimination. As for the other 2 of which I never heard I'll have to look those up for you and get back to you. I'd hate that lovely crop of yours to fall under these pests!

After doing a Google search, this is what I told her:

I just found out about hornworms. Yikes, those are huge! The only thing I saw that sounded remotely garden friendly to protect your tomatoes was floating row covers. You probably know what those are but I'm not so sure you would want to go to that trouble. Depending on how many tomato plants you have, it could be a daunting task. They did suggest you plant dill near your tomatoes as a decoy. The hornworms will supposedly go to the dill first then you can get them by hand picking and dropping them into a cup of alcohol to get rid of them. Tedious I know, but harmless for you and your plants.

Here is the scoop on Stinkbugs: You can go 2 ways to keep these bugs at bay. Plant repellent plants, which they hate, to keep them out of your garden. These are Marigold, radish, catnip, garlic, mint and tansy (keep these last two in pots so they don't take over your garden) You can also plant Trap or decoy plants which stinkbugs love and will go to first. These are sunflower, buckwheat, triticale, sorghum and millet. Hope this helps.

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