One of the recommendations that I always make when I discuss organic methods that work is bagging fruit. If you’ve never heard of it then here’s the story. By placing a bag of some sort around your fruit, such as apples or peaches, when they’re young you can protect them from insects and disease. I used to recommend plastic ziplock bags (up here in the North anyway), and I still do, they’re cheap and work well. You can also purchase Japanese fruit bags that will work. But recently I was introduced to a more streamlined product which I really like — a cloth pocket with a cord to close off the top. Since it’s made out of cloth it probably won’t protect against disease as well as plastic bags or Japanese fruit bags, but if insects are your main concern then I think these might be just perfect for you — if you don’t mind paying a few dollars for them (they are reusable!)
At a master gardener conference I recently attended one of the vendors handed me some of her Startbagging fruit bags to test on tomatoes. I say test because, while these bags have been pretty effective at protecting tree fruits, they haven’t been used much for veggies (OK, OK, a tomato is technically a fruit). To be honest though, I’m not as worried about insects on tomatoes as I am deer. The deer near me don’t seem to care for the plants themselves, but they just love to pick the tomatoes off when they’re almost, but not quite ripe. Jerks.
Here are a few bags on a tomato plant.
Here’s a closeup of one of the bags.
I’ve only had these bags on the plant for about a week now — so far so good. The company producing these bags is a small start-up. From what I understand these bags are patent pending. I wish this company well because I think this is organic pest control at its best — reusable products that don’t utilize chemicals. If you have any interest you can go to startbagging.com to take a look (the website is a little basic right now — hopefully they’ll fix that soon!).