The tomato lives!

Though it has some unwanted company…

The sun gold cherry tomato plant that gave me three delicious tomatoes despite being a plant that looked like it was about to die- has made a grand comeback.

It’s a proper bush now- my fertilizing and good watering has really helped. As has the insanity that is late September weather in San Francisco.

But a healthier plant isn’t necessarily one that’s free of bugs. It never had a significant aphid load besides one or two- largely because it wasn’t healthy- aphids tend to go for the healthier plant.

This little reddish thing is a large red aphid. There were more that this one I’m afraid, though most were smaller. There were a few leaves that were just covered in little red specks on the underside.

Red aphids were the culprit that killed all 5 of my tomato plants many years ago- the last time I planted tomatoes in fact, and I swore at the time I’d never do it again, largely from the thousands of red bastards covering my dying plants like a breathing layer of terrible.

But this time I’m prepared.

I hand killed as many as I could, which was really icky, and then I sprayed the plants down with neem oil. I’m gonna repeat that procedure for the next few days and that should be that.

Here’s the thing- a few bugs is fine. Take my fava beans- I’m never going to have zero aphids. But as long as it’s not a zillion- the plants should be fine. The mentality that there should be no bugs ever is what gets you DDT and dead bald eagles. Just by using organic pesticides and basic management techniques…

That beautiful tomato flower should turn into a tomato!

I mean- hopefully, it is nearly goddamn October.

Hey- a Neanderthal can dream!

Bonus picture:

That weird little fellow on the rim of my shishito pepper is a ladybug larvae! Aka the little friends who munch on aphids for a living. And why you should be sparing even on the organic pesticides. I inspected my tomato for these fellows before I put the neem oil on- don’t want to kill the good bugs with the bad! Since the peppers have the most ladybug larvae I won’t be spraying them. The crazy aphid load on the tomato plus how delicate tomatoes are justified it.

But hand killing aphids is definitely the safest way.

Even if it is also the grossest way!

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