Katie's Journal: A mother's worry Part 2 x2 -- Are our babies sick?! & These bugs are bugging me!
Jul 24, 2012
I've spent this rainy day hunched over the computer searching for cures, pacing the kitchen and running an emergency trip to the doctor's office (the agricultural supply store in a nearby town) and whenever a dry moment came I was out there in the tomatoes, taking their temperatures and checking behind their ears.
Aside from our insect wars (I will touch on this later on) I am afraid a good number of our tomato plants have tomato yellow leaf curl virus. The leaves on a number of our tomato plants have been curling for some time now but as everything else seemed fine I chalked it up to the extreme drought and heat our region has been suffering. I do believe this is the case with some of our curly plants; but, after the paranoia started with our insect problems and these dying tomato dreams keeping me up at night, I decided to do some research and found that a number of our plants have other symptoms as well.
The most prevalent symptoms we are seeing are:
*Leaves curling upwards.
*The veining on the underside of the leaves turning purplish.
*Stiff, brittle, possibly larger-than-they-should-be stems.
*Yellow marbling pattern on some of the leaves (more with the potato leaf varieties).
Of the 28 varieties some are looking worse than others, particularly the Jersey Giant's, Purple Russian's, Dejeena Lee's, Pink Oxheart's and Anna Russian's. Almost all the the plants, with or without symptoms, have lots of fruit that is slowly starting to ripen.
The tomato scrapbook:
*We planted our tomatoes, all from seed, 90% Baker Creek, on March 18th (again, thank you glog for giving me the ability to look back on these things!) in our greenhouse.
*We transplanted them about two months later on May 20th after a week of hardening off. *Of our 28 varieties not all were super strong seedlings at the time of transplant; some were a little leggy, but they all took to the transplant well.
*At the beginning on the season 3 year aged cow manure was tilled into the soil.
*We have been suffering major drought and heat but have been keeping the tomatoes well watered; watering heavier lately as we think we may have been a little skimpy earlier on.
The horror stories I'm reading about TYLCV:
*It is not curable, only preventable.
*We need to remove the infected plants.
*Using "bait" plants is a good prevention method and cucumbers are recommended. Now looking at our cucumbers I am worried about them too!
*It is caused by whiteflies infecting the plants.
Now with mentioning the whiteflies I will transition into my bug woes. First off, I didn't think I had seen whiteflies in the garden until in some of my research today I read that if while watering your tomato plants you notice what looks like a little snowstorm rise up around the plant You've got 'em. I remember this happening once when watering about a month and a half ago and only in one specific area. Hindsight is always 20-20. If only I had known!
Since then, however, I have seen no sign of whiteflies. And, as the worries of our other insect issue mount, Alfredo keeps reminding me that we are not seeing major bug infestations. The flea beetles, yes, have taken their toll aesthetically on some of our plants but the squash/stink bugs that I have been worrying about since finding their eggs on a few tomato leaves (very few in the scheme of things) are really not out in number. We have found the odd stink bug here or there but they really are not around in mass. All of our plants are producing and we are not seeing anything covered in insects as you see in the horror photos from other gardens. So, should I be worrying so much? Is now the time to take major preventative measures to avoid infestations that may be mounting? I need a bug expert to come give the garden it's seasonal check-up and let me know if I am just giving myself premature worry-lines or if I've actually got a problem on my hands and if so what to do about it.
Here are lots of pictures for all you garden doc YGS members that have been so much help already! Thank you in advance from the bottom of my heavy-with-worry heart!