Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Plant Tomatoes With Mothballs

...
Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

To avoid sharing the bounty of your tomato plants with animal and insect pests, consider using mothballs as a deterrent. Mothballs contain naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene, substances that negatively affect certain animals, such as moles and rabbits, and some insects, such as beetles and white flies. The pests avoid the mothballs and leave your tomato plants alone. If you plan to use mothballs as pest control for your tomato plants, make sure you're doing it in the most effective way.

Dig a hole for the first tomato plant, approximately 6 inches deep. Make it deep enough so at least 1 inch of soil will cover the tomato plant root ball. Adjust the depth of the hole to your particular tomato plants.

  • To avoid sharing the bounty of your tomato plants with animal and insect pests, consider using mothballs as a deterrent.
  • If you plan to use mothballs as pest control for your tomato plants, make sure you're doing it in the most effective way.

Toss a handfull or two of compost into the hole. This extra boost of nutrition will help your tomato plants stay healthy and productive. Compost generally consists of decomposed organic matter; you can make it at home or purchase it at any garden store.

Place the tomato plant gently into the hole and press dirt around the root ball. When soil covers the base of the tomato plant, press the dirt firmly around the plant with your hands.

Continue planting your tomatoes approximately 2 feet apart. If you plan to plant several rows of tomatoes, Larry Bass of the University of North Carolina Extension Service recommends planting the rows at least 3 feet apart.

  • Toss a handfull or two of compost into the hole.
  • When soil covers the base of the tomato plant, press the dirt firmly around the plant with your hands.

Scatter three or four mothballs about a foot away from the base of each tomato plant. The mothballs should be far enough out that any pest will encounter the mothballs before getting to the tender tomato plant. Do not place mothballs at the plant's base because the pests may not encounter the mothball fumes before munching on the tomato plant.

Tip

Replace mothballs around your tomato plants every month, as the fumes from mothballs left out in the open become reduced and rendered less effective due to sun and water exposure.

An alternative to placing mothballs on the ground is to place three or four mothballs in the foot of an old pair of panty hose. Hang this bag of mothballs on a stake near your tomato plants so the fumes drive away pests.

If moles plague your garden, try dropping a handful of mothballs into one of their tunnels. The Gardening Channel notes that chemicals in the mothballs irritate moles, forcing them to abandon the tunnels and go elsewhere.

Warning

Do not place any mothballs into the hole where your tomato plants will go. The ingredients in the mothballs will kill the plant if placed that close together in a confined underground space.

Some groups, such as the National Pesticide Information Center, claim that mothballs harm beneficial insects as well as pesky insects and believe that mothballs may harm some animals. Consult your state extension office in your area for more information.

Related Articles

How to Keep Chipmunks Away From My Tomato Plants
How to Keep Chipmunks Away From My Tomato Plants
How to Keep Bugs Away From Tomato Plants
How to Keep Bugs Away From Tomato Plants
How to Apply Lime to Tomato Plants
How to Apply Lime to Tomato Plants
How to Keep Bugs Off My Tomato Plants
How to Keep Bugs Off My Tomato Plants
How to Grow a Tomato in Texas
How to Grow a Tomato in Texas
How to Kill Bugs on Tomato Plants
How to Kill Bugs on Tomato Plants
How to Grow Tomatoes in the House
How to Grow Tomatoes in the House
Pest Control for Tomato Plants
Pest Control for Tomato Plants
The Best Time to Plant Tomatoes in Florida
The Best Time to Plant Tomatoes in Florida
How to Plant Tomatoes With Roses
How to Plant Tomatoes With Roses
Homemade Non-toxic Pesticides for Tomato Plants
Homemade Non-toxic Pesticides for Tomato Plants
How to Grow Celebrity Tomatoes
How to Grow Celebrity Tomatoes
Natural Ways to Keep Bugs Off of Tomato Plants
Natural Ways to Keep Bugs Off of Tomato Plants
What Eats the Leaves & Tomatoes on Plants?
What Eats the Leaves & Tomatoes on Plants?
How to Keep Grasshoppers Away From Tomato Plants
How to Keep Grasshoppers Away From Tomato Plants
What Bug Is Eating the Leaves of My Pepper Plants?
What Bug Is Eating the Leaves of My Pepper Plants?
Garden Guides
×