Saturday, July 25, 2009


Someone moved in while I was gone!

I rounded the corner to check the garden after 9 days away and what to my wondering eyes should appear?

But bare tomato stalks for about the top foot of the plant closest to the gate.


So I put on my investigator's cap and start inspecting. I see nothing on the leaves of the first few plants. Nothing anywhere near the stripped stalks. (Of course, they've EATEN all of that and have moved on! DUH!)

Then I peered into the depths of the middle plant -- a Hank heirloom tomato, where I find, yep, you guessed it, leaf footed bugs. Ugh.

And nasty. They creep me out.

This is a terrible pictures, but you get the idea -- I'm not going back out in the heat to get a portrait.

So I use the last of the organic stuff I have sitting there for tomato bugs and come in to make another bottle of insecticidal soap. I spray the whole bottle and find lots of them.

The question is, will it kill them? My guess is not, and I may need some Neem oil since these are babies and that will stop their growth at least.
And right below the stripped stalks, I find all this frass -- which is what they call insect poop. (I just call it poop. Seems appropriate.)

Then I am wondering, do I have two pests? This seems like big poop for those little bugs, but what do I really know about bug poop? Answer: Zilch.

So if you know who left this poop, please tell me!

Tomorrow I will make a trip to the Natural Gardener and see what I can get to get rid of those dang leaf footed bugs. They decimated several of my plants last August and they are NOT getting these.
And look what I left lying back in the veggie garden. And yes, it did rain 2 beautiful inches while we were gone. So, yes, they are nicely rusted. Again. I give up. I am a bad tool mom.
Here's another friend I found had moved into my garden while I was gone! I think I may know who escorted him back there!
And look, (well, YOU can't tell anything, so you can quit looking!) my fence gate is fixed. My Daddy came over while we were gone and fixed the separating gate frame and fixed my latch. I can now actually open it with one hand without having to lift that heavy sucker and hurt my elbow. Thanks, Daddy!

Other that the deadly bugs, my fabulous son took GREAT care of everything. I'll have to check it all out tomorrow when I water in the morning.

It's nice to be home, even if it is 103!


Bob said...

I think that's poop from the big green caterpillars with the spike on the back end, Horn worms. You better find him fast, it looks like he's eating them fast.

Bob said...

I forgot to mention, you can soak your pruners in WD40, leave over night and go over as much of them as you can with a Brillo pad or steel wool to get as much rust off as you can. Make sure you soak the WD4o into the pivot point and work the pruners to get it into the joint good. They will be almost as good as new.

Carol said...

I agree with Bob, the only creature I know that has big poop like that around tomatoes is the Tomato Hornworm. They are hard to see on the vine because the blend in so well. If you find one or two or ten, throw 'em on the ground and squish 'em!

Good luck.
Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a welcoming committee of BUGS! The rotten things.

Your Dad is the best. What a nice surprise to find your gate fixed.

The garden gnome...hmmmmm who could have moved him in?? Does he have a name yet??

Janet said...

My goodness Diana, nine days gone in the middle of the summer? My place would be toast. Bob was right about the horn worms...had one my cherry tomato plant. I KNEW he was there, but those boogers are the same shade of green as the foliage! Pruners left out in the rain.....hmmmm, sounds like a Garden Country song in the making!! Saw Willie Nelson last night-- he is still great!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Welcome back! Finding a gnome is a pretty funny coming home present, but those nasty buggies are not. Yuck! I don't even want to know what bug poop is called.
You're not the first person to have left their favorite pruners out in the rain. It's sort of like a gardening right of passage when you start doing that.

Patchwork said...

A warm...or should I say HOT...welcome back home. Sorry about the tomatoes. I agree, it sounds like a Hornworm. had TWO INCHES of rain? Wow!! We've had less than a quarter inch, here in our area of Wimberley, in the last two months.
Good luck with those pesky bugs.

Diana said...

Bob -- I thought that too, so I sprayed BT. I still can't see him, but I know this will get him if I got it close enough to get on him. Thanks for the WD 40 tip - I will definitely try that!

Carol - I've been searching out there several times a day and can't find 'em, but I sprayed em! Worked like a charm a few months ago, so I am crossing my fingers.

Lisa -- Well, I thought my friend brought the gnome, but it might have been my mom and dad...gotta remember to ask them!

Janet -- What a great line about the pruners in the rain! I'm so jealous you saw Willie, I'll bet you had a blast. He's amazing.

MMD -- YEs, it is a rite of passage, but I've PASSED many times already. Oh well. I'm gonna try Bob's WD40 trick for now.

Patchwork -- So sorry you didn't get that rain last week in Wimberley. I had 4 friends and family members email me that we were getting rain! They knew that would make my day.

getgrounded said...

Welcome back, Diana. Sorry I couldn't greet you with a lovely rain shower. Get those bugs, dangit. Love the new veggie garden fairy.

Diana said...

GetGrounded -- Yep - I wish I'd been here to see the rain! I've sprayed and sprayed those bugs. I haven't been out to check this morning yet. I afraid to look!

Annie in Austin said...

If leaving my pruners outside would make it rain I'd do it, Diana - no rain up here at all!

Good luck finding the hornworms - after the last couple of summers, I'm able to squash Leaf-foots barehanded but am not so sure about smushing the big caterpillars - might bring the green shears of death out to the tomato patch & just cut them in half.

Bet when you go to sleep you start dreaming about the Indiana home ;-]

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Gail said...

Diana, Thank Bob for me, please! That is exactly what I plan to do with the pruners I left out in the rain! ...Welcome home and too bad it was to find your tomatoes chewed up...and pooped out! But the news about rain was good and your daddy sounds like a doll! gail!

Diana said...

Annie -- What a great idea you have -- let's all leave our pruners out and see if we can make it rain! (Just like when you wash your car...maybe we should wash our cars, too!)

Gail -- Seems like a great idea for the pruners, doesn't it? And I can't thank my Dad enough for the gate. I was actually hurting my back and my elbow everytime I had to open it and lift it with one hand while managing the latch with the other!

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

Diana, I've done the same thing with more than one pair of Felcos. I really don't deserve good pruners! At least when I leave my inexpensive pruners out in the rain, I don't feel so guilty! I'll try Bob's suggestion on the pairs that need attention.