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2 Questions about Tomato Leaves and Tomato Growth
I have just ventured into home gardening. My tomatoes have begun to bear flowers and fruits.
I am having some issues with white lines on leaves which I was told are leaf miners. Any solution to this problem?
Tomato Dirt responds
Leaf miners are difficult to control using a contact insecticides. The miners are protected underneath the leaf membrane. A systemic insecticide will control them, but will enter the fruit ... not something you'd want to eat. Probably the best way to handle leaf miners is to do nothing!
You can pick off and destroy the worst affected parts of the plant to prevent further infestation. Believe it or not, a tomato plant can survive with just half of its foliage in place -- without affecting the fruit or its growth.
After harvesting your crop, work to eliminate leaf miners for next season. Till or aggressively cultivate the soil twice. Repeat the process a couple of times over the winter. This way, you can help "bury" the larvae, making it extremely difficult for new leaf miners to successfully emerge next season.
How do I get my tomato plant to spread out as it is just growing tall and thin?
Tomato Dirt responds
Leggy plants indicate a need for more light and/or a fertilizer imbalance. Check to see that tomatoes are getting 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. Review the steps you took when planting. Did you add compost to the soil? Tomatoes are big feeders. Cultivate the soil around plants. Work in additional compost or composted manure to amend the soil accordingly. Alternatively, review any fertilizer packaging of fertilizer you may have used at planting. Excess nitrogen in the fertilizer (a high first number in the fertilizer's N-P-K ratio) can promote legginess in plants.
Good luck and happy gardening!
By Kathy Widenhouse, award-winning writer and owner of Tomato Dirt, a leading online source for growing tomatoes and using them.
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