Winning the spider mite battle with DIY safe spray

You’d think it would be easy to grow tomatoes.  We’ve been trying for years, unsuccessfully.  At least Steve has been trying.  Steve kept thinking it was a virus, and tried all types of plants and soils.  All with the same deaths.

Last year I was determined to get to the bottom of the problem.  As the last of the tomato plants were dying,  I got out the magnifying glass, and finally saw them, spider mites!  I tried all sorts of safe sprays and water blasts, but lost the battle.

This year, we started about 40 tomato plants of various varieties, and finally ended up with 15 after giving some away and some dying. At first the plants were doing amazingly well, getting transplanted to bigger pots and the garden.

Then one weekend, we had brief heat wave.  I noticed that the plants suddenly lacked a certain vigor.  I then read that tomato plants don’t do well in sustained heat.  So I panicked and put the potted tomatoes in the shade, and covered the garden bed plants.  They still got worse.  So I started in with the spider mite inspection.  And there they were! This was WAR!!!! But I didn’t want to poison my garden, because we have so many ladybugs, lizards, bees, birds, squirrels, lace wings, spiders, earth worms, etc., that I didn’t want to disturb.

I also had the usual issues with aphids, other sucking bugs and sooty mold and mildew on the chard and other plants.

I had been using baking soda and water to treat the mildew, and it was working great for that. I tried dish soap and the baking soda on the spider mites, but not with much luck.  I blasted them with the hose, but the plants didn’t like it, and the mites remained. I then read that you can treat spider mites with a dose of dish soap and alcohol.  So I added rubbing alcohol and to the dish soap and baking soda mix, and YAY! Those spider mites were history.  And this mix works on all the issues so far, and we still have all of the good creatures.

And now we have really wonderful, delicious tomatoes that we’d dreamed about, that we have not been able to find in a supermarket.

Here is my recipe: All Purpose Garden Spray

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