Over the summer, tomatoes are an excellent plant to add to your home garden. However, just like any other vegetable or fruit plant, you want to safeguard your tomatoes from being eaten by hungry critters. You can protect your tomato plants from being consumed in many DIY ways.
So, what eats holes in tomato plants anyway? Should I cut off tomato plant leaves with holes? What can I spray on my tomato plants to keep bugs away? Can a fence protect your tomato plants from animals? Can a raised bed help keep animals away from tomato plants? Finally, should you grow tomatoes in pots to protect them?
He is the complete breakdown as to how to protect tomato plants from being eaten.
What Eats Holes in Tomato Plants?
When you notice holes in your tomato plants, the most likely cause is tomato hornworms. You can spot these caterpillars from their white diagonal stripes and black stinger-like horn.
When you first notice the holes in your tomato leaves, inspect your plant to see if any tomato hornworms are climbing on the stems or leaves. Pluck them off one by one and release them somewhere else in your yard or drop them in a bucket of water and dish soap to get rid of them for good.
Should I Cut off Tomato Plant Leaves with Holes?
Pruning is the best way to ensure optimal growth when caring for tomato plants. When holes appear on your plants, you know that critters are eating away at the plant and stealing valuable nutrients.
If you notice damaged leaves or leaves with holes in them, gently remove them to allow all of the nutrients and food to fuel the healthy stems of the plant that will eventually provide tasty tomatoes.
What Can I Spray on My Tomato Plants to Keep Bugs Away?
Suppose you are concerned about bugs constantly picking at your tomato plants. In that case, you can purchase solutions at garden centers specifically designed for spraying on tomato plants and other vegetable plants.
You can make your own DIY bug repellent if you want a more natural approach. Combine ten ounces of hydrogen peroxide, one gallon of water, and ten ounces of sugar. When using this mixture, washing away the mix after a few days is essential.
Can a Fence Protect Your Tomato Plants from Animals?
Bugs are not the only predators you must know when growing tomato plants. Occasionally, animals like raccoons, chipmunks, or groundhogs will attempt to take a few bites out of your ripe tomatoes. To protect your tomatoes from critters, you can build a fence around your tomatoes using chicken wire, plastic mesh, or bird netting. Drive four stakes into each corner of your garden and lay your material of choice over your garden, using the stakes to secure the cover.
If your tomato cage is not secure, crafty animals like squirrels are almost guaranteed to find a way to your tomatoes. To avoid trickier critters, like rabbits, secure the material on the ground near your garden to keep them from burrowing and crawling underneath the mesh. A mesh cover will also be effective in keeping birds away from your tomatoes.
Can a Raised Bed Help Keep Animals Away from Tomato Plants?
You could even plant your tomatoes on a raised bed to help protect them from critters like rabbits who attack your plants closer to the ground. Rabbits will find getting tomatoes raised at least 18 inches off the ground challenging.
Raised beds are also an ideal alternative for your tomato plants, as animals like voles or moles will burrow underneath the ground and create elaborate tunnels to get to your plants.
You can still create a mesh cover for your tomato plants planted in a raised bed to protect them from deer.
Should You Grow Tomatoes in Pots to Protect Them?
Tomato plants are capable of thriving in both gardens and pots. If you want to avoid all the work it takes to keep critters out of your garden, you could grow your tomato plants in large pots that protect them from rabbits and other smaller creatures that burrow in gardens and nibble on vegetables.
The benefit of growing tomato plants in pots is mobility. You can easily relocate them or make an effective cover to protect them from bugs or bad weather.
Conclusion: How to Protect Plants from Being Eaten
Tomato plants are one of the most popular plants to grow in the summer but are not just popular with humans. Bugs and critters like to eat tomato plants, so it is important to keep them safe if you want to enjoy juicy ripe tomatoes.
Holes in the tomato leaves are usually an indication of tomato hornworms. If you see that your leaves have holes in them, remove any caterpillar from the plant and use a vegetable-friendly pesticide on your plant. Using the pesticide will help prevent future caterpillars from overtaking your tomato plants.
Create a mesh fence to cover your tomato garden to protect your plants from small animals like chipmunks and rabbits. Planting tomatoes in raised beds or large garden pots is also effective for keeping out critters that burrow into your garden.