Wednesday, August 4, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Cara:What's eatin' my tomatoes?

No they aren't in a bad mood. They are happily hanging from my one and only tomato plant, which my other green thumbed neighbor gives to me every year to grow in my garden.

I have noticed this year it's not my best tomato plant. I have been getting tomatoes but the plant never looked like it was in the best shape. It had some brown leaves, broken stems not looking too happy. Hmmm, I thought maybe I haven't been tending to it like I usually do. Maybe it is in a grumpy mood...a lot of that going on around here lately. Maybe it rubs off on plants. But lately I have been coming out in the morning to visit my garden and I have been finding this:
What the heck? Chewed tomatoes? Broken stems? Tomatoes laying all over the ground??? Grr! Ok so I prune. I tie up stems, water extra good. Next week same thing. Grr again.
I am thinking Ariel is eating them. She is has been eating plants lately.

  Oh! OK relax. Maybe not.

Yesterday morning I go out to visit. Now, not only are there more chewed tomatoes and stems, there are "droppings" on the leaves of my zucchini! Aha! A thief left evidence!! So not being a "droppings expert" I am left to wonder who left behind the calling card.

Chatting with green thumb neighbor last night, he thought it may be a worm. A worm? A worm leaves droppings? I think not. But I did remember seeing a small (about 1 inch if even) worm that kinda camouflaged itself on a stem. I didn't think much of it at the time. "Let's look for it!" green thumbed neighbor says. I thunk wrong. That little worm turned into THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GROSS OR WHAT????????????????????????
(those are my pics not from the internet)

It had turned into a 4 inch long 1 inch round worm from hell...I am getting creeped out looking at it!!!!!!!!! Turns out after research it's a Tomato Horn Worm. I have never heard about it or saw it before and I have been gardening a good while.

I have said before I love to dig in the dirt. I move worms...nice earthworms. (I now consider them nice!) I garden around buzzing bumblebees. I have come nose to nose with a praying mantis the size of my shoe on more than one occasion. But this thing takes the cake (or the tomato as it were). I probably would have coexisted with it if it wasn't a thief. If it ate bad bugs then I would have let it stick around. I still feel guilty if I kill a spider after having my dad tell me my whole life how spiders eat bad bugs.

I must admit I had the hubby dispose of it. I have no idea if it left any cousins behind. I guess I will have to go out and check this morning. I am really hoping not to find any. So if you are having any of the tomato symptoms I was having perhaps a cousin is hanging in your garden. They don't only eat tomatoes my research tells me. Ugh. He better not have been licking my squash now too. EW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. I never imagined when we started this blog I would wax poetic about tomatoes so often. Who knew.


Anonymous said...

The following remedy from the gardening guru: Fill an old Windex bottle with 3/4 water, 1/4 mixture of liquid dish detergent and vinegar. Shake well and spray your plant. Also, where were you when the garden need weeding many years ago?

Stephanie Faris said...

Eeeek! I was thinking "worm" from the very beginning. They love tomatoes, don't they?

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