Is spraying tomato plant leaves okay?
Hi, I'm new here and this is my first post. I searched for info on this but didn't find it, though I have no doubt it is there. Please indulge my questions:
Okay, we have a patio on a 2nd floor apartment and last season we had 2 very successful tomato plants with no problems - sweetest tomatoes I've ever eaten!
Actually one of the tomatoe plants started to re-bloom and we were going to leave it to produce but today I noticed that it had whiteflies ALL OVER IT. Hundreds of them!
I took the plant out and threw it in the trash outside because I do not want them to spread to the new plants we just bought yesterday and just planted in large pots today.
I did some research on whiteflies and found quite a few posts saying to spray them with soapy water and/or onion juice water and/or water with neem oil or soy oil and so forth.
One question I have about this is that I thought I read somewhere that you should always try to avoid getting water on the tomato leaves when watering. Yet, I should spray this water on the leaves to kill the whiteflies?
Also, I was wondering, how effective would it be to plant some marigolds or basil next to the tomato plants? I have heard that these repel whiteflies. Anyone have success with this?
Another thing I read is to use ladybugs. If we bought ladybugs, what would keep them from going away? Is there a way to keep the ladybugs around on our patio to eat the whiteflies? Is there any downside to buying ladybugs for this problem? Would they get inside the apartment and infest the apartment?
Sorry if these are dumb questions, I'm completely new to gardening and am just beginning to research all this because our tomatoes were so good last year! (though a small crop)
We want our tomatoes to be free of pesticides if at all possible, so we would appreciate any help anyone can give us on getting rid of white flies and growing another crop of healthy tomatoes on our 2nd floor balcony!