Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Garden Mystery solved


Ugh! This summer I planted tomatoes and peppers and while the plants themselves grew they weren't bearing any fruit. Even though they were watered, fertilized and gently coaxed along I got nothing... Then, about two weeks ago I noticed a few little flowers and even a couple "baby" tomatoes I was so excited - I thought better late than never.
Tonight I went out to check on my plants and to my disgust I saw this:

Then this:

Then this:

These disgusting things aren't small either - they are like FOUR INCHES LONG!!! And they have a big pointy horn at one end. Can you see it? EWWWWW!
I ran in the house to see if they were dangerous or poisonous and the answer is No. They are tomato hornworms and are sometimes confused with tobacco hornworms. They turn into huge moths after a little while. Apparently one of those things can defoliate a large plant in no time at all. And guess what they like to eat besides tomatoes? Yep - peppers. So, no homegrown tomatoes or peppers for us this year but at least the hornworms were well fed.
Doug picked off about six before I got a bucket and picked off another 13 and put them in a bucket. Who knows how many more are out there that I couldn't see.
The predators of hornworms are wasps. We had tons of wasps this summer until I mulched really well and covered up all the mud. Now the wasps are gone but we have hornworms. If you ask me, I think I'll take the hornworms. At least they don't divebomb and they don't sting.
Oh the joys of gardening.

4 comments:

  1. Ugh! Only fuzzy caterpillars are cute -- at least I used to think so when I was a kid. I'm sorry about your crop, but you're so right about the wasps. There must be something you can do for next year! No one I know here has had a good crop of tomatoes or much else, so, you're not alone. Hugs!

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  2. Kinda amazed at how lush the back yard looks in the middle of scorched Oklahoma. Sorry about the caterpillar but otherwise bravo!

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  3. Yuck! What a hideous looking critter! I'd take wasps anyday!

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