Treating tomato plants with dishwashing soap
This is my first time here, so i hope i am following the rules. I've grown tomatoes all my life (it really is a "Southern" thing), and so did my mother, my grandmother, and my great-grandmother, so i'm here to share a few "tips." Yes, i do spray my vegetable garden, especially tomatoes, with dish soap, using only a few drops, and lots of water. It has worked for our family for well over 150 years. The insects don't like the soap, and neither does the tomato horn worms (scary, but cute). To keep other "critters" out we "scatter" hot sauce, pickle juice, and cayenne pepper generously over the soil area, and sometimes we mix the pepper with some water in a spray bottle, and spray a few leaves...works each and every time. The hot sauce and pepper spray will not hurt the plants, nor will the dish soap. I do; however, at least once during my garden season, use Sevin dust...it just works good, and you are going to wash off your vegetables. Another good tip, and this is a good one, because most people just don't think about it....i hate spiders with a passion, but i know what a garden spider looks like...it's big and yellow and weaves the most incredible webs you will ever see...it also "eats" most pests and insects in your garden, so DON'T kill them. I know it's a natural instinct to kill spiders, but try really hard to not kill the garden spiders, they are nature's best defense against the "pests" of your garden, any garden as far as that goes. Plus you will witness the amazing creativity of these webs....truly God given. My secret for big healthy tomatoes...soil and good drainage. I have three (3) compost piles where we place grass and pine cone mulch, leaves, sticks, and coffee grinds. When it's time to plant (and i always do before Good Friday because my great-grandmother told me to), my husband and i rake back the top layers, and we find the blackest dirt full of earthworms waiting for us. You know it's good soil if earthworms are crawling in it. Rake away the worms, but don't kill 'em. Shovel some of that black dirt in a separate pile. Make sure your worms go back in the dirt. Rake the top layer of mulch and cuttings back on top so that the compost process will continue. Now you have a good size pile of rich, fertile dirt. Mix with 1/3 part of garden soil, and 1/3 part of manure, and a little of peat or potting soil. Mix WELL. If you are using a ground level garden (you use a tiller to break up the ground), throw that dirt on top and between your rows...then do your planting. Since we are older, and arthritis sets in, we now only do "raised-bed" vegetables garden, so we fill up our containers with the good soil and plant. We have always had the best vegetables using this combination of soil. Oh, i forgot, there is something you should try to also help keep pests away....my grandmother and grandfather always planted sunflowers, zinnas, and marigolds in the gardens....they said the "smell" keeps the tomato horn worms away, and basil, the smell of basil is offensive to some insects too. But again, if you want to keep the squirrels away, and other critters, put that hot sauce and cayenne pepper out, and the dish soap. It works every time for us! We also keep adding fresh compost dirt to the gardens a couple of weeks, and garden fertilizer. We even use kiddie pools to raise squash, cucumbers, and zucchini. Just drill holes for drainage. And i always put broken tiles and rocks for extra drainage. Like i said, it works for us, and the soap is not going to hurt any animal or birds. We place cayenne pepper in our bird feeders to keep the squirrels away, works every time. And that is the end of this post, hope i did ok.