Tag Archives: tomato

Do You See Him?

I wish that I had gotten a better picture, but I can’t find this little guy in my garden right now. Can you find him? I know he’s still in there, eating up my tomato plants. He’s really hard to spot because the pattern on his back blends in with the leaf pattern. I don’t have any idea how much of my tomato plants they’ve already eaten. Apparently this is a tomato hornworm (could also be a tobacco hornworm, they eat tomatoes too). I knew that something was eating away at my tomatoes because whole stalks would go missing. I just chalked it up to rabbits, but it turns out these little guys have a voracious appetite. I originally noticed them because of a parasite that is apparently common, the braconid wasp. The presence of cocoons on the caterpillar that looks like rice grains means the parasite has already taken over. I found four of these in my garden just two weeks ago. I immediately went to look it up (gotta love Google). Several sites mentioned that the parasite would kill the hornworms. They recommended picking them off the plants, but I just wasn’t for it. These guys were 3 or 4 inches long and covered in parasitic cocoons. Blah!! I watched for a couple of days and they didn’t move locations. Then in almost no time they died. Great, right? My tomato plants are flourishing again. But alas, I found this little guy on my plant over the weekend. I didn’t see anymore, but it’s late in the season, and I’m hoping to just collect this last batch. Besides, despite this hungry fellow and his brothers, my tomato plants have grown like crazy. I don’t care to invest in pesticides this late and the primary organic solution is the wasps. I guess if I see him again, I can pull him off, but what to do with him? References say squish, but he looks kinda meaty for squishing…just gross.

Perhaps more interestingly is that they have hardly bothered my grape tomatoes. I have at times noticed something had munched away at them too, but the damage was not nearly as severe. All so very mysterious since they don’t really seem to differentiate by species (it would seem they like peppers too).

I’ll try to get a better photo if I spot him again…I do hope it’s just the one left.

More info on these garden pests can be found here or here. Of course you are always free to search on your own, there’s plenty of info out there. 🙂


Tomatoes and Watermelon Seeds

The tomatoes and strawberries are in the ground. Yay!! I don’t have a tiller and the space had to be dug up and prepped by hand. It was a lot of work, so I really hope its worth it. I put in four Delicious Tomato plants and six Red Grape Tomato plants. The six strawberries went in today too, all with a little help from my youngest step daughter. Now to make room for the watermelon. I started them from seed just last Sunday and already have nine good, strong-looking plants. They will need a lot more room, but I believe I’ve picked a good spot. We will see.

This morning my step daughter and I were fortunate enough to make it to Bernheim forest for their plant sale, and they had the eastern redbud trees I’ve been looking for, and though considerably smaller, much more reasonably priced than the nurseries near me (Nursery want $100 each, and I paid $15 each). The trees are all 2 – 3 feet tall and ready for planting. I’m so excited about finally getting them. So now the trees and the Cannas need to be planted, and then I’ll just have the watermelon left.

I’m so excited about gardening this year that its kinda funny. I have no idea why, maybe its just because of the new house, but whatever, I’m having a blast, and some of the kids are getting a pretty big kick out of it too.

Happy planting!!

ETA: Also, I’m very excited to report that everything I’ve planted so far (geraniums, cherry trees, sweet peas) have all survived.