Growing plump, juicy tomatoes is the dream of many gardeners. Even with optimal weather and soil conditions, an otherwise healthy crop can be ruined by tiny, hungry bugs. Some of these critters carry bacteria that can cause even more damage. With a few little tricks, such as strategically-placed plants and homemade sprays, you can rid your crops of these troublesome creatures.
Plant companion plants next to your tomato plants that will naturally deter bugs from residing on or near your beloved fruit. Plant asparagus, basil, beans, bee balm, borage, chives, garlic, mint, marigolds, anise, nasturtium, onion, parsley, peppers or petunias near your tomatoes to ward off unwanted visitors.
Introduce ladybugs on your tomato plants. Purchase a bag of live ladybugs from your local nursery and cut the bag open to let the ladybugs out directly onto the plant. The ladybugs will eat aphids and their eggs.
Use yellow sticky traps wherever you plant your tomatoes. Cut the traps in small pieces and place them around the bottom of your plant or inside the pot. Lay them horizontally so the bugs can land on the surface and get caught. The surface of the traps will never dry out, so they will work until the whole surface has been used by trapping all sorts of garden-dwelling critters.
Spray a fungicide directly on your plants to get rid of pests and the bacteria that they can carry to your plants.
Concoct a red pepper spray to squirt on your plants. Simmer one chopped onion, one chopped head of garlic, 1 tbsp. of cayenne pepper and 3 pints of water for about 20 minutes. Strain the mixture and place the liquid in a glass jar. When you are ready to use it, mix 1 tbsp. of the mixture with 1 pint of water and a pinch of Ivory soap inside a squirt bottle. Spray directly on the plants.
Use a wormwood spray to get rid of caterpillars. Mix 8 oz. of wormwood leaves with 6 cups of water and allow it to simmer for a half hour. Strain the leaves from the water and allow the liquid to cool down. In a separate container, mix 1 tsp. of Ivory Snow with 6 cups of water until the flakes are dissolved. Mix both liquids together in a squirt bottle and spray directly on plants.