Question From: ARKANSAS
Q: WHAT PRODUCT TO USE ON TOMATOES TO KEEP BIRDS AND BUGS FROM EATING THEM THAT IS CHEMICAL FREE ?
A: There is no one chemical / pesticide that will kill all the bugs that eat tomato plants so you must identify the insect. At this time of year the tomato hornworm is usually the culprit. It's a big green caterpillar (up to 5 inches long). For their size they are surprisingly difficult to find. You can tell they're around because they leave behind their poop. Dark granular droppings. Many gardeners take the time to hunt critters down and drop them in a jar of soapy water. Squashing makes a yucky mess. If you have lots of plants spray them with the organic insecticide (Bt) bacillus thuringiensis. Re apply weekly July through August. To keep birds from attacking the plants, you can wrap the plants in bird netting or floating row covers. The floating row covers can be left in place as sun and moisture will pass through the material. For more information go to Yardener.com and read the section in problems with tomatoes. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.