Tomatoes are one of the most commonly eaten vegetables among humans, as they can be used in a variety of dishes or to make soups and sauces. With all of the possible options, people love them. However, they aren't the only ones - pests love tomatoes too. If you aren't careful, pests could get to your tomatoes and prevent you from making that delectable cucumber and tomato salad. Consider these tips to keep pests away from your tomatoes.
Why pests like tomatoes
Tomatoes are a juicy, abundant fruit that many people happen to grow in their backyards, Garden Guides noted. Because of its abundance, many pests love to dig into it as well. Larger pests, such as deer, raccoons, skunks and coyotes will all feed on a ripe tomato plant. However, don't discredit smaller pests, including whiteflies, stinkbugs, aphids and beetles, who all love to chow down on tomato plants. If the problem is left ignored, the pest population could become bigger, and homeowners may be disheartened when they realize that their tomatoes have been ruined.
Cones are a great way to protect your plants from any type of pest, the San Francisco Chronicle noted. They lift the leaves up and support the plant as it grows upward. Lifting the leaves and stem off the ground can help prevent pests from crawling directly on the leaves. Cones, which are sturdy and usually made of metal, can also resist larger pests such as deer, as they can't put their heads through the holes. Aim for cones that are 3 or 4 feet tall.
Plant predator herbs
Certain herbs and flora actually keep pests away. Planting basil near your tomatoes can keep off small pests such as whiteflies. As an added bonus, tomato and basil are in plenty of recipes together. You could also try planting marigolds, which keep larger animals away, or sunflowers, oregano or carrots. See which works best for you.
Keep plants clean and healthy
Pests are less likely to go after a plant that's fairly healthy and blossoming. However, if you have rotting tomatoes, or you have tomatoes that have fallen off the plant and are sitting on the ground near it, you're going to attract pests. Pick off any rotten fruit or any tomatoes that have fallen off.