Preventing Spider Mites?

Kati1224February 17, 2013

Hello! This is my first time posting on this forum, although I used it as a resource throughout last summer. Last year was my first time with a real garden, with mixed results. I had a rather nice flowerbed that was plagued by a bulb-hungry chipmunk. In addition I planted some fruits and vegetables in large pots. My peppers did wonderfully! I had tomatoes and watermelons that I think would have done very well if it wasn't for the dreaded SPIDER MITES. My watermelon plant exploded all over my backyard and was quite beautiful, but suddenly started looking very dried out. Once I realized what the problem was, the infestation had already gotten very bad and I decided not to risk the rest of my garden and killed the whole plant. Unfortunately, I didn't act quickly enough and my tomato plants also got infested. It was a battle the whole summer and they only produced a handful of very sad looking fruits before the season ended.

This year I hope to give it another shot with both the tomatoes and the watermelon and I was wondering, are there steps I can take this year to prevent/control possible spider mite outbreaks? Should I throw out the soil in the pots from last year and start fresh? Are there companion plants I can use? I'm very new to gardening, so all advice is appreciated!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

throw the old potting media into the compost bin ... NOT away ...

its always a good idea to start fresh with potting media.. especially on production crops ..

and what you put in the pot is just as important.. regarding media ...

BTW.. why werent all these things in the ground.. if you have space for a pot.. etc... i have gardened for 35 years.. and i still have trouble with pots.. you are kinda starting with the hard way ....

last summers heat and drought and may cold ..... were not great for tomato ... especially a potted one ...

over the years.. i gave up on watermelon ... jsut too big.. and too yuck ... not to mention.. its growing season to ripe.. may not be long enough for you .. its a plant that just isnt worth it.. and all that space.. that you could have used for other stuff ...

and frankly ... IT might have been the whole problem.. once it took over the whole yard ... giving a few pests.. time to hide.. until the population exploded ...

you cant really prevent the fluid suckers .... aphids.. mites.. etc .. you notice them early.. and react ...

chipmonk .. rat trap with peanut butter.. under a large upsidedown pot.. tipped on a rock to allow access .. if you cant get rid of it.. you are not allowed to complain... even better if you can find its hole.. and cover that ...

good luck


    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 5:52PM
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First, I'm going to ask you if you are sure spider mites were the culprit in your garden? They aren't usually in Ohio, other than in some exceptional weather years, and last year wasn't. Last year was a bad tomato year for many growers in the state and I only had one variety do well and I usually have enough tomatoes to haul to the local food bank and can a couple hundred quarts. Go to your extension department and ask for some handouts on common garden pests. I suspect you had a whole symphony going on. If this is your first veggie garden year keep it simple, make sure your soil is adequate, learn about the common garden pests. It is a learning curve and nobody knows everything from the get-go but it's not rocket science, either. Ken has a point, it's called 'scouting' and that's why I say you need to get a good handle on 'bugs' and you should be going to your garden daily to look for them in places like under the leaves and learn what kind of bug does what kind of damage and find it soon enough to take care of the problem before it spreads.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 6:58PM
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Understanding some things about Spider Mites is the place to start doing something to control them. Spider Mites are more of a problem when the weather is hot and dry and raising the humidty around infected plants is one of the easiest methods of control. Spraying poisons to control Spider Mites is often counterproductive because what you spray kills off the predators that could help keep the Spider Mites under control.
Perhaps the link below might be of some help.

Here is a link that might be useful: About Spider Mites

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 6:56AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

can any of you explain.. because i think i failed.. to address.. how a plant like squash/melon/WM ... totally overgrowing a bed.. and how IT may be causing problems ...

i had a gourd [they are all the same vining family] ... in the middle of a conifer bed ... and it was decimated by stink bugs i think ... and the population exploded .. simply ON THAT PLANT... and once it was gone.. the bugs were gone ... absolutely NO IMPACT on the conifers [the tissue was not conducive most likely as sap suckers like tender flesh] ....

so i am trying to tell you.. to get rid of the ginormous vine.. and 90% of your problem might go away.. with nothing more on your part ...

the giant may also be causing drought on some level .... complicating your watering ... causing your other plants to have a hard time.. STRESSING.. because of such ... and stressed plants attract predators ...

get rid of the giant.. and see how the rest works this summer.. part of the learning curve ...

and for the money saved on 'cures'.. just go buy a watermelon ... lol.. it took me years to 'see' the cure was costing more than the crop was worth ....


    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:05AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Borers can get into veggie vines, making them weak and more attractive to other pests, which would be a secondary problem at that point. On the good side, a dead vine is a lot of fodder for the compost pile.

BTW, with watermelon, you know they're ready when the vine dies...

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 5:50PM
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