Tag Archives: hornworms

Gardening: The enemies

17 Jun

Today I found the first of what will be many tomato hornworms.  He was munching away on one of my heirloom tomatoes: the Pineapple.  I’ve heard a lot about how fabulous this tomato is and this is the first year I’m trying them.  I am SO not letting a greedy, insatiable tomato hornworm rob ME of that or really ANY other tomato.  I’ve battled with these nasty larvae for years.  I try to garden as organically as I can, so my extermination method is (euww) to hand pick them, lay them on the ground, cover them with something flat (an old shingle works great for this), and then squish them. (Once again–euwww!)  One year, as I was reaching for it, the hornworm rared up on his back feet and hissed at me!  Yes!  I was not imagining–it hissed!  Totally upping the oooogy-factor.  These days, I break off the end of the tomato branch the worm is munching on, so I never have to touch the worm at ALL.  Bleh.  They are hard to see, blending in with the color of the tomato plants, but fairly easy to find, due to the damage they create–branches completely denuded of leaves.  (CC image by naturegirl78 via compfight.com)

The other big enemy that has shown up in the last week is the squash bug.  They somehow smell the fragrance of the squash blossoms and show up for dinner.  They are sucking insects and can suck an entire plant dry overnight–destroying any thoughts you might have had for zucchini bread!  The way they move can be best described as scuttling–which is what gets me–yuk!  But again, I’m determined to save my crop in as organic a way as possible, so I’ve learned to snatch them off, toss them on the ground and squish them with my shoe.  If I don’t find the eggs and I end up with a hatch, stronger methods are needed.  I start with diatomaceous earth–the tiny sharp shells of little sea creatures that will slice up the soft bellies of the bugs and dry them out (muahahaha!); and if that doesn’t work, I move on to Sevin dust.  So far, (knock wood) the snatch and squish is working….for now anyway.  (Image from University of Minnesota)

BTW, aren’t the wanted “posters” cool?  I made them with Big Huge Lab’s Trading Card Maker!  They’re super easy-peasy and fun!  Big Huge Labs has lots of groovy apps you can use to play with images!