I have had a few plants that did well before so after living in Texas for a few years, I finally decided it was time to put that green thumb to use.
We were able to eat the tomatoes pictured but two that came later had to be thrown out. There are several flowers right now and I am hoping they come in fungus free! We have two other tomato plants and they got it as well because it is very contagious. Luckily, though, we caught theirs early and were able to eat almost all of the tomatoes that came off them at that time. They were a bit small but still very delicious!
We have had to deal with is sharpshooter bugs, also known as leaf-hoppers. Every morning I catch about three by coming up on them slowly with a washcloth and squeezing them to death. May sound ugly but these harmful bugs suck the water out of the plants, causing them to loose water and nutrition needed to grow my dinner food properly! They can also spread disease from plant to plant. Hubs says they “the mosquitos of the plant world”. They turn from side to side of the plant making them hard to see from time to time. They have left my basil looking sad but daily catching of the bugs has allowed some new growth that looks a lot better. Now, though, they are enjoying our bell pepper plants that just began to look healthy after a scary transfer from an upright container to a topsy-turvy planter.
I also found another solution that has seemed to work pretty well. What I have been doing is mixing one-gallon water with two tablespoons liquid castile soap (which I made myself) and a dash or two of cayenne pepper since the other bad bugs don’t like to eat that. It has drastically reduced the amount of leaf-hoppers we have!
Then there is this bug. One I really didn’t want to deal with. When the hubs asked if I wanted corn I quickly told him NO. A few years ago, I bought corn from the farmers market and baked them with the husks on. When I opened them there were worms on the top of the corn. I was so grossed out, I immediately went to google and typed in bugs in corn. They said I could cut off the part they are on and the corn is good to eat. My family dug in but I did not. Nor did I want to deal with that in my garden! Little did I know these worms come in many forms, including the tomato fruit worm! I wondered about the holes in our tomatoes, assuming they were related to the blight.
I found out they were not when I picked one and a worm looked me in the face. Ewwww! I asked on my garden group what I should do and everyone kept saying BT- in liquid or powdered form, naturally I did not question it. It did work, we have two tomatoes that are doing really well and have gotten bigger than the last two did before getting eaten from the inside out! However, I do not recommend BT and will not be using this chemical again. The chemical is used by Monsanto and that is the farthest thing from what I want to be. So, next spring I plan to purchase some lady bugs because they eat the tomato worm’s eggs and some flowers that attract birds (along with a bird bath so they have water and don’t need my fruit as their source) because they eat the worms!
I don’t say this to scare a new gardener because I absolutely love seeing my plants go from “Will it stay alive” to “Look at it thrive”; however, if a new gardener gets the bugs and has a large garden this will take a lot of time and effort which could be discouraging. Knowing this, I think it is better to start small and grow from there knowing that it is truly a passion of yours. If it does not work then at least you can say you tried and you are not out too much.
As for me, I am sad that I can’t keep the bugs from hurting our plants but I will do my best to keep them out and continue to watch my tomatoes, picking leaves that look like the might be turning yellow and spraying them with my baking soda but I will continue on and plan to add to our garden very soon!