Today I cut out curled leave sections of all tomatoes and found spider mites on every tomato. It has been spider mites that have been killing my tomato plants. I pruned all the real bad branches off of all tomato plants today and gave them a hard shower as recommended by some sites including this one. Now that I know what this is I might be able to thwart it. Will look into that Neem oil at Home Depot. There are home remedies but I’m not at the stage where I can experiment with that.
Update: The bad eggplant is behind the Cleome in caged position 9. This eggplant seems to have recovered from its spider mite infestation.
Update 7/22: The tomatoes look better. Some curled leaves. Checked for mites and found some and perhaps some eggs but not as many as yesterday. Gave them and eggplants another hard shower. All the eggplants seem infested as well. In hindsight I feel kind of stupid for not realizing this over the past 6 or 7 years of crop failure. Mixing eggplants into the tomatoes and seeing them suffer first was a major clue. Plus, this little blog thingy which no one reads has perhaps helped me gather my thoughts so that this year, I actually did some investigation and observation — because I wanted to enter it in this log book. Still haven’t gotten to harvest yet but I feel optimistic.
Note: I had a decent crop in 2006 when I grew a six tomatoes on north wall. I don’t recall any sudden failure. I need to figure out the source of the spider mites. NE and SE corners do not show mites. Cucumbers are affected as well which could explain the Cucumber failure last season.
Update 7./26: Skipped watering main roof. Rained last night early morning and everything still seems soggy up there. Gave tomatoes hard shower however. Big Boy in caged position 7 is the biggest. Caged position 10, the tomato that showed first signs of distress and the one that produced 3 small BER red tomatoes, produced a small red tomato with very little BER. This is good compared to previous years. Though not scientific, my casual observation indicates that the number of green tomatoes is lower than previous years but none show distress and no BER (knock on wood). There is second growth so we’ll see what kind of harvest this crop brings. Any harvest will be an improvement from the last bunch of years.
Update 7/27: Heavily pruned tonight. Lots of mites but less than and slower than when first spotted. Caged positions got a hard shower. Might have to get the Zeem and a spray bottle from Home Depot. I’ll try and get some pics up soon.