Gardeners growing tomatoes generally like to have a few sprays on hand to improve the health and yield of the crop and solve expected problems. Choose the safest possible products for your crop by avoiding those with the words “warning” or “danger” on the label. Fungicides and insecticides should be labeled for the target insect, and the label should state that it is safe to use on vegetable crops. The label is always the final word on how and when to use the spray on your tomatoes.
Epsom salts contain magnesium and sulfur, which are essential for strong, bushy tomato plants and large, flavorful fruit. Spray the plants with one tablespoon of Epsom salts dissolved in a gallon of water no more than once a month. Use the spray on pale, spindly plants and when the fruit is slow to ripen. Seaweed sprays perk up pale, sagging tomato plants in a matter of days. The compounds and hormones in the spray provide essential elements and make it easier for the plant to absorb nutrition from the soil.
Bacillus thuringiensis, an environmentally friendly spray, kills tomato hornworms, tomato pinworms and tomato fruitworms. It is formulated for insect larvae and will not harm humans, pets or wildlife. The spray is most effective when insect larvae are very young. Insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils are safe insecticides that can be used to treat a number of insect problems, including aphids and mealybugs. These sprays must come into direct contact with the insects to be effective, so spray the plant thoroughly, and don’t forget the undersides of the leaves.
Blossom Set Sprays
When nightly temperatures are below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or above 70 degrees, and when daytime temperatures are above 92 degrees for several days, tomato flowers fall off without setting fruit. There isn’t anything you can do about high temperatures, but when the problem is low temperatures, a blossom-set spray will help. Blossom-set sprays contain hormones that encourage fertilization.
Most diseases that infect tomato plants can’t be cured, so the focus needs to be on prevention. The best disease prevention is proper spacing and pruning to allow good air circulation and sunlight penetration, and there are a few sprays that can help. Milk spray helps prevent fungal diseases. You can make your own spray by diluting reconstituted powdered milk or skim milk at the rate of 1 part milk and 9 parts water. Spray the tomato plants a couple of times a month until midsummer. Milk also gives the plant a dose of calcium. Copper and sulfur fungicide sprays are also effective in preventing and controlling the spread of fungal diseases.
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