Thursday, October 2, 2008

Holy Hornworms

I was doing my morning plant inspection in the garden when I noticed a vile looking green creature hanging from the bottom of a branch on one of our tomato plants.

Next to this thing was a leaf with all these gross looking brown egg-things on it - which might also be some sort of insect poo. Blech! I took off that leaf, smashed it into our fence and tossed it far away into the neighbor's yard (he has no plants and he's a single guy so I knew he wouldn't care). Then we looked at the vile green creature and tried to figure out if it was good or bad for the plants.

Farmer B decided it must be evil since the branch it was hanging from didn't have any leaves on it, so the green thing must have eaten them. We removed the branch from the plant and the boys spent a good bit of time oogling it.

Then came the whole "what do we do with this thing?" question. I didn't really want to step on it. The idea of its guts spewing out didn't appeal to me. So…we tossed it into the other neighbor's yard. This is a vacant house with no plants either. I realize we sound very un-neighborly, but our lots are about 2 acres and it just made us realize we need a plan for disposing of future garden beasties. Seriously what do you DO with a big green bug? Do gardeners really take the things to their front driveway and step on them? We will come up with a plan for future bug disposal because we realize that these creatures will probably just find a way back to our garden. We kept them very far away from a rear neighbor who actually has a vegetable garden, so we did try to do the right thing. Plus, stepping on it in front of the boys who were clearly amused by it seemed kind of wrong too.

Then I moseyed over to the pumpkin plant and found a small one of these disgusting things on a very-chewed up leaf. Now I wonder how many of these things are hidden in the garden?

So we came inside and whipped out our Organic Gardening book and flipped through disgusting page after disgusting page until we found it. It's a Tomato Hornworm. I suppose this is extremely common to anyone who's had a garden before, but as you know, this is uncharted territory for us. Apparently these things burrow into the soil, so I wonder how we got them with a new garden? Maybe one of the moths flew over to our garden at some point? To get rid of them you're supposed to hand-pick them off (yuck) or get wasps to come and eat them. It says ladybugs do a number on them too. I'll work on the wasp brigade soon.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to comment on your hornworm situation, as well as pictures. First of all, your pictures are fantastic! Also, you have tobacco hornworms...same as me. I live in NW Alabama, and my bout with these in my garden was over with months ago. The moth that lays the eggs for these is gorgeous. I have a garden blog, and have tons of photos on there that might help you with identifying some things.Feel free to browse thru the categories. Anyway, i'll be visiting your blog frequently. Take care.

Unknown said...

Thought I would share this article about organic control of hornworms and grubs:

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