Who's munching my maters?!

brianSATX(8)March 22, 2013

Can anyone help identify what pest/issue may be causing these holes in my newly transplanted tomatoes? I'm also curious about the "wilting" on the middle leaf. I've read on the forums about transplant wilt, but I'm not sure.

-Grew plants indoors (garage) in sterile mix for 8 weeks before transplanting, using seaweed and fish emulsion as fertilizer
-Transplanted plants (peat pots) to raised beds 5 days ago
-My seedlings and raised beds are handled organically
-4 of my 8 transplanted plants are showing these issues so far. The leaves in the picture are from a Rutgers, Glacier, and Sweetie Cherry plant. I have another Sweetie, Solar Fire, Celebrity, and Golden Nugget that are fine so far.
-I have sprayed twice (once after transplanting and once yesterday) with a 10:1 diluted compost tea, with about 1 oz orange oil and 2 oz molasses added to the 5 gallons of tea before diluting with water. This is a standard weekly regimen for my beds.

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Abother picture to show overall health of the plant is seemingly good

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 12:30PM
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It looks to me like the middle leaf may have been burned by cold temperatures. In my experience, setting out my plants too early without enough hardening off resulted in that kind of damage.

The other damage looks a lot like Flea Beetle damage. Flea Beetles will eat tiny holes in the leaves, like you see here, but rarely will cause catastrophic damage unless they're numbers are out of control. If you see little, round, black insects on the leaves, those are the culprits. They'll jump away as soon as they sense danger, and are tough to control with chemicals. But you can catch them if you're fast enough with your fingers. I just tend to try and catch/crush them whenever I see one. Again, the damage won't kill the plant, but it can make the plant slightly more susceptible to disease.

I hope that helped!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Helpful-thanks! After reading up on flea beetles, I believe you are spot on. The plants looked better today overall and are showing new growth already, so I'll simply observe for now. Have you tried DE before for this critter?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Not really sure what you mean by "DE," so it's probable that I haven't tried it. Is it a kind of pesticide?

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:39AM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

DE is diatomaceous earth. It kills soft bodied insects tat come in contact with it. It's not very effective against hard bodied flea beetles who jump around. As tomahtohs said, flea beetles don't do a lot of damage to healthy plants, although in large numbers they can weaken them. If you want something organic to deal with them, consider spinosad or neem oil.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 1:05AM
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