Spider Mites!

Caged positions 9 and 10 taken on 7/19.  As mentioned in the previously dated post, caged position 10 sufferred from the same blight like condition as what happened the last bunch of years.

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.

Logbook Entry: First harvest and more

First harvest on 7/19.  Four eggplants and a cucumber.  Cuke taken from the one in the cages which is doing well.  Eggplants from caged position 2.

Possible blight on Big Boy tomato in caged position 10.  Eggplant in caged position 9 doesn’t look well.  Instead of pulling entire eggplant, took off all blighted leaves and removed all blighted stalks from tomato.  It looks like a small and isolated outbreak.  Never seen blight on eggplant before.  IMHO, the outbreak seemed to originate from the eggplant which shares its container with a Cleome (unaffected).  That eggplant has some healthy new growth so I let it be for now to see if the problem is over.

Caged Eggplants on Main Roof

Caged position 2 (left) and 3 (right).  Celebrity tomato in position 2, two eggplants in position 3.  These eggplants are the largest so far of the 8 planted this year.

Update: I usually plant 3 eggplants in these 20 gallon tubs but only put 2 in this year.  From the looks of this container 3 would have been too crowded.

Caged Position 14

Caged position 14, the last caged position, contains 1 eggplant, 1 Cleome, and a bunch of volunteer snapdragons from last year.  This is an end container in the tomato line.  These three plants seem to be getting along OK so far however the Cleome looks a little stunted.  Some of the Cleome seedlings from Gesethemane were duds and I got no volunteer Cleome from the plants grown last season.  Eggplant grow like a weed on the rooftop and are heavy producers.

Update Note: Since this container contained volunteers from last year its soil was not turned thus mushroom compost was not added.  This could be an influence on plant size.