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.

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