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Member Since: 08/14/2010


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QUESTION: Help! Nematodes Are Killing My Beloved Tomatoes

Okay, so I'm only a second season backyard gardener and for gardening info, I'm based in Southern California, a few blocks from the ocean. We put in two 4x6 beds last year and had bumper crops...



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Re: QUESTION: Help! Nematodes Are Killing My Beloved Tomatoes

sam, thanks so much for your reply and for sharing your experience with beneficial nematodes. I went back to the nursery yesterday and asked them why I cannot do a layered approach and their answers were interesting because I've only heard people recommend this or that approach but not WHY one or the other. Here's what they said:

1. Solarization kills everything in the soil, so if you have otherwise good soil, not a good way to go (and we spent a fortune on good soil).

2. You can use the Marigold approach, but Marigolds only drive away/repel both good and bad nematodes. They will only go deeper into the soil and when they "smell" the tomatoes next Spring, they'll come right back up to attack them.

3. Beneficial nematodes are the only thing that will actually get rid of bad nematodes. And you cannot combine them with Marigolds because the Marigolds will drive away the good nemas.

So, I'm going to roll with the beneficial nemas - adding them into both beds this evening, and then in a couple of weeks I'll put in non-nema loving fall/winter crops like Broccoli, peas, maybe cabbage and lettuces. And then in the spring I'll re-treat/re-apply the beneficial nemas again when I put in my tomato seedlings. However, next year I will not use the same bed for the tomatoes, I'll move them to the other bed. And reverse that each year. Hopefully that will work.

Sam, I think you are better able to get a handle on your nemas because your tomatoes are in pots. I may have to do that if this scheme doesn't pan out. We'll see what happened next year. Thanks again for your thoughts! It's really more heartbreaking than I thought, having to pull out 12 heirlooms when they were giving us such amazing fruit this year...Oh well, live and learn, right?