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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Moving Tomatoes To the Greenhouse

I transplanted my tomatoes to big pots and moved them to the greenhouse over a week ago. I did  not have time to write because it was much more to do in the garden and home than just taking care of the tomatoes and writing about them;).

First, I will write about the evil spider mites that attacked my plants. Before I received the spider mites removal I had washed affected leaves with water with soap using a sponge (they advice to do that when you find these creatures on your plants). That was definitely a mistake. Leaves did not survive this treatment. Probably they suffered more from this than from the spider mites;) I think it work with most plants but not all. I did it before with paprika and bananas plants and they were OK after that. Two days later I sprayed them with a special anti spider mites liquid and it helped. 

Tomatoes in the greenhouse

Before I moved the tomatoes to the greenhouse I let them stay outside during the day and inside at night for three days. It was supposed to harden them off. This is a very important step when you move tomatoes from a warm cozy place to much colder and harder conditions. Leaving them outside without hardening off can be a shock to them and it is not good at all. I kept my plants on the terrace where usually it is not too windy. The weather was not too sunny either which was also good. Unfortunately, it was more windy than I thought and two of my 24 plants broke just above the roots. Actually, three of them broke but I decided to keep the third one and transplant it anyway to check if it can regenerate. There was just a little bit of its skin connecting the stem and the root. One day after planting it it looked like it was dying. I wanted to throw it out at once so it would not start rotting and spreading diseases in the greenhouse but I was too lazy and I left it for the next day. When I came to the greenhouse on the next day it was alive! It looks healthier with every day. I guess it has developed new roots and everything is ok:)

Still alive and getting better:)

Last but not least - there is one little tomato growing on one of my plants:)

My first visible tomato:)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Alarm! Spider Mites Attack!

My tomatoes grow very fast and some of them have already cute little flower buds (!). The tomatoes are almost too high to maintain. Wooden sticks that are supposed to support them are much too short and they do not help much. Luckily the plants support each other now and only the ones that grow outside the crowd fall down a little. Soon I am moving them to the greenhouse where they will get real support. 

My tomatoes yesterday

flower buds

Unfortunately, there is a bigger problem than unstable plants... - my tomatoes have been attacked by spider mites. Spider mites are little evil creatures (less then 1 mm in size micro-spiders) that eat plants and build spider nets on them. I have noticed the first signs of their presence but I know they multiply extremely fast when they have good conditions so I have to stop them as soon as possible if I want to eat my own tomatoes this year. Last year they attacked my paprika plants. I had 5 or 6 paprika bushes and none of them survived because I did not use anything professional to fight the parasites. Spider mites spread over paprika plants very fast because they have smooth surface. Tomatoes have more hairy stems so these little creatures have problem with moving fast on them so they do not attack the whole plant at once. Spider mites prefer high temperature and drought so my tomato plantation is a real paradise for them. There is over 25 °C degrees (77 F) and dry air there because there are the best conditions for tomatoes too. Tomatoes should not grow in humid air because when their leaves stay wet they can develop various fungal diseases. Therefore I avoid pouring water on them while watering. 

attacked leaf

attacked leaf
spider mite on one of my tomatoes leaves

There is very little time to act. I have ordered a special organic anti spider mites product that is supposed to kill them without affecting the health of the other house residents. I ordered it on line so it will take some days for the parcel to come. So far I can only wash the plants with soap water. This should slow down multiplying of these awful creatures. I have to conduct this procedure in the morning so the tomatoes leaves can dry fast in the sun. I will write how everything worked after I see some results. I hope it works.