Ha. This thread needs an update. Sorry it’s been a while....
As usual, the winter tomatoes have experienced ups and downs. I know it can be done and I have had good acceptable results but I’m also running into issues I’ve experienced before. This may be due in part to my cavalier attitude about bringing in plants from the outside. It DOES show that if you are regimented about completely eradicating any stowaways, using series of quarantine systems and multiple insecticidal treatments, you just might avoid the kind of problems I’m facing.
On the other hand, my results also show that same problems can be overcome with other treatments. For me, it’s a matter of applying similar environmental and other conditions all around, which may or may not be possible due to different micro-climates in the house. ...if you have a single growing area — one Room, a Greenhouse, etc. then the matter may be at least “simpler”.
So, in the Faimily Room “Winter Wonderland” it is a sad sight — fortunately I had only put 4 tomato plants here when the mite infestation became apparent and exploded: The taller Dwarf Arctic Rose x Utyonok F1 Cross and Sophie’s Choice. Later, I brought in the fruiting micro variety Yellow Canary from the “Garage V8 Nursery” and I also added one of the white grape dwarf/micro type Maglia Rosa x Coyote F4 segregate seedling I grew from this summer’s F3.
As you can see, the dwarf plants that are actually taller than the height limit criteria for Winter Indoor Tomatoes have been completely overtaken by the mites and struggling to mature the fruits that did set. I don't expect them to be able to manage any more. The blushed and almost fully colored but still firm and not quite ripe fruits started dropping on their own yesterday, while we were having Movie Night and watching Captain America: Civil War — THUD, THUD, BUMP...ROLL ROLL...CRUMPLE
...What IS THAT? Where are the sounds coming from? I think it's the tomatoes.... no way!....
We had to pause the movie while I investigated.
You can see that the Yellow Canary in the bottom right corner panel seems to be unaffected by the mites.
Now let me show you the “Garage V8 Nursery” — tah DAH!
I took some of the ripe Red Robin and Yellow Canary fruits for my parents to enjoy and actually shared some with a resident that was sitting with them at breakfast. Her eyes were shining when she said they were sweet and good. My dad opened the bag and took out and ate extras that I thought they might eat later in their apartment. (I told Mom I’ll bring more for her next time)
Briefly why I think there is such a difference: Part of the problem I think is the Family Room has a space heater that whoever is using it runs when they feel cold, and the room is occupied at all hours depending on who’s doing what. We have had some sudden dips in the 20's already. I think the room is typically warmer and drier than the rest of the house. So even though I did release predatory mites, they may not have established well. The plants here are also widely spaced, so maybe it wasn’t possible for the mites to move around from one plant to another. Case in point the Yellow Canary.
Even though the unheated Garage V8 Nursery has had some dips down into 40’s, the micro varieties Red Robin and Yellow Canary crowded under the lights (same kind of lights as Winter Wonderland btw) look much better. I can only surmise that the predatory mites that were released here established well and are continuing to protect them. In addition, perhaps the pest mites are less comfortable in the cold.
...I need to decide what to put in the Winter Wonderland space when these tomatoes are finished. I’m not super disappointed because I’m getting F2 seeds from those crosses which I can grow out and advance to F3 seeds in spring/next growing season. But even after thoroughly wiping down this area, I’m hesitant to put any plants that are susceptible to the mite attack — that means no more tomatoes, no peppers, no citrus.... are there any plants that are not particularly bothered by mites? Maybe I should grow a Winter Salad Garden.....?