Any suggestions for insecticides for tomatoes? No chemicals preferably. Not quite what is eating them, but I want them to stop. Thanks.
Seaweed/fish emulsion + molasses + orange oil will get rid of most pests. It will however, kill some of the smaller beneficial insects. If you spray regularly with Garrett Juice, it will eliminate most problems before they start.
Last year, I also planted some flowering plants at the edge of my garden to attract beneficial insects. It was alyssum and cosoms that I planted. Attracted ladybugs, preying mantis and others.
To control any insect you do need to identify what that insect is so the proper control measure can be taken. What you have very often determines what you use. For insect larva that eat leaves most often in the early stages of life you can use Bacullus thuringiensis - Kurstaki, for many adult pests you might use insecticidal soap sprays but for theose to be effective you must spray the insect because insecticidal soaps have no residual (long lasting) affect. Many tomato pests can be repeled by planting other plants close by, but that to odepends on what your pest is.
My first tip is to plant Marigolds and Pyrethrum Daisy's in between the plants. From there I agree you need to know what the pest is then use the proper control like BT, Soaps, and if all else fails use Pyrethrum sprays.
The best thing I ever planted with my tomatoes was borage, works great in keeping away the dreaded Tomato horned worm! :o) I had them STRIP a large nicotiana half an acre away from the tomatoes, but they never touch the tomatoes.
It is wise, as kimmsr, advised, to find out what is eating your tomatoes first before you spray anything. I planted borage among my tomatoes the last two seasons, yet I still had hornworms. (It is possible that I could have had lots more without them.) If the leaves of your plants are being stripped clean, and the fruit are being nibbled on, and you find weird-looking star-shaped poop, you've got yourself a hornworm. We just hand-pick ours off and feed them to the chickens. That means many trips to the garden throughout the day to keep an eye on things.
I pinch the first or second leaf stem just hard enough to bruise it which causes the plant to produce an enzyme that is LETHAL to Hornworms.I have used this tech.for 10 years and have not had one hornworm make it to adulthood.
bt. Dipel dust killed them for me. The ones I saw later were diseased and dying. I got a sick thrill out of it :)
Very effective stuff
Zebraman: How often do you have to pinch? At what stage do you start pinching? Does it affect the whole plant by just pinching one stem? Thanks.