I have seen signs of tomato hornworms on my tomatoes. Dead and dying stems are the sure sign that they are invading. But today I discovered one of the invaders! It turns out that he is being invaded by his own attackers: a small wasp that is taking over and consuming his body. I was very happy to see all these little white eggs on his back when I discovered him today. As these hatch more will be available to help take care of any other tomato hornworms that may be lurking. This is one of the reasons I do not use chemicals on my plants to take care of pests, mother nature can do a pretty good job on her own if you just give her a chance! Patti
Web Master’s note: Here is a video with some info on keeping out deer. Also plant some barberry in your yard. Deer hate them. Help Sue out! Send her your suggestions.
Why am I posting a photo of this big ugly tomato hornworm now in late October?? Because much to my surprise when I was cleaning up my garden this weekend, I came across this bugger in my tomatillos!!
Just about the same time, Max came by to clip some sage for the herb wreath program so I brought her back to see it…she can attest that the thing REALLY blends into the foliage as she was putting her face closer and closer to the plant until she realized it was right in front of her!
I was also surprised to learn that the tomato hornworm and the related tobacco hornworm are pests of the “nightshades,” or Solanaceae family of plants. These include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, tomatillos, tobacco, and petunias. I have encountered these very creepy creatures before on my tomato plants in the summer but was totally shocked to find this 5 inch monster in my tomatillos this time of year.
They grow from a tiny egg that is the size of Lincoln’s chin on a penny so I am not surprised I missed that. But as adults they are hard to miss. They are very creepy looking in a bright green skin with small spots along the sides that make it look like it has many eyes and an actual horn on its backside!
The good news is that when I turn over my garden in the spring, it will kill about 90% of any larvae that have overwintered there so I have a fighting chance to keep them out next year.
For now, I am just thankful that I was wearing gardening gloves that day…
Reported by Patti
“Behind the walls of my apothecary garden are other rare and even more dangerous plants. Many I acquired without fully understanding their uses – perhaps I found a name mentioned in some obscure, ancient medical text, or came upon an old cure related by a beggar who claimed to have heard it from an ancient witch woman he met once. Based upon such vague hints and clues, and often following nothing more than my own blind instincts, I have bought and traded plants from all over the world. The most powerful ones live behind that locked gate.”
from “The Poison Diaries” by Jane Northumberland
There is Always Some Damn Thing…
I happen to have both juniper and crabapple trees in my yard that usually look quite beautiful. The crabapples were especially pretty this year. Not especially pretty were the orange “mushrooms” infesting my juniper. Upon investigation I discovered that cedar/junipers and apple/crabapple trees can be an unfortunate combination. Wikipedia offered some enlightening information. And yes – I did notice spots on my crabapple leaves last year.