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06/08/2013 at 17:02

  Hi,

This is a question from my father iin law who lives in Teruel, Spain.

He's been growing tomatoes for the past 10 years or so and he tells me he has a plague of 1cm worms which are all over the soil and leaves of his tomatoes & cucumbers.

He grows outdoors undercover in large 25ltr plastic pots filled with a mixture of manure and soil (isn't that to much?)

Each year, he changes 1/2 the containers contents with new soil/manure but never changes the whole lot.

I have told him that he should change the whole lot and wash out the containers if he is using them time and time again..but,. he never listens to me.

Has he paid the price for this?

And what can be done?

This maybe one for Italophile

 

07/08/2013 at 09:48

Andrew, it's always a good idea to start afresh with new mix in containers. Apart from avoiding any disease problems, a season of growing depletes the goodness in the mix. Every time you water, nutrients are leached out, including any you've added via fertilising. And caterpillar larvae can and will overwinter in the mix.

In short, your FIL is making life hard for himself!

It might or might not be Tomato Horn Worm. They're very distinctive:

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/28929.jpg?width=323&height=350&mode=max

 

Unless you want to pick them off by hand and send them to meet their maker, or if you have them in plague proportions, the best treatment for caterpillars is a product with Bacillus thuringiensis as its active agent. It's organic, a bacteria derived from soil and is harmless to everything but caterpillars. It's also systemic rather than a contact treatment meaning you don't have to hit the pest with the stuff. It remains active and effective. Until it rains. It's marketed under various trade names including DiPel.

Oh, and his mix is all right providing the manure isn't fresh.

08/08/2013 at 12:00

Italophile,

Thanks for your reply.

I've passed the info onto him so, it's up to him now!

 

Andrew

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