Monday, June 7, 2010

Hoeing for hornworms

Holy Cow.

Imagine my horror when I inspected the garden today after returning from our 4 day trip to Indiana and found a tomato horn worm.

No, wait, not one.

But two.

No, wait, not two, but FOUR!

The horror.

So I got my thick gloves and my child's hoe.

I picked them off one by one and hoed them to death.

(Did you know that their blood is green ooze, kinda like anti-freeze?)


Then I covered their carcasses with mulch in the garden path and gave them a proper burial.

It's too hot now to follow up with BT, but you can bet I will be out there first thing in the morning to spray and make sure I got all the little buggers.

It took me a long time to find those four, and I am certain there are more that I simply can't see. They blend in much too well. They are the epitome of camouflage.

Ahh ... the tomato wars begin.

So far, the odds are still good.

Diana - 1, Hornworms - 0.

Are you prepared to do battle in the tomato wars of 2010? Who are your worst garden enemies?


Carol said...

I've got to say that I am against using hoes in such a way as to harm any creature. Really, I prefer to use a trowel! (ha!)

Diana said...

Carol -- Ho, ho ho! That's pretty funny. I don't wanna get that close to them frankly, so a hoe it's gotta be!

Caroline said...

I have mixed feelings about the hornworms, knowing that they turn into hummingbird moths, AND knowing they can take out an entire tomato plot in a matter of days. I haven't found any in my garden yet, but when I do, I'm going to try plucking them off and placing them in the compost pile like MSS at Zanthan Gardens suggests.

Diana said...

Well, shoot, Caroline. I didn't realize they turned into hummingbird moths.I knew they turned into something but I am particularly fond of hummingbird moths. I don't have a compost pile - wonder what else they will eat? Guess I will try to relocate them next time I see one. Sigh. Nothing easy in the garden.

getgrounded said...

This brings a whole new concept in the garden...being "hoed to death". Makes one pause :)
I love hummingbird moths, too - I just saw my first orange one of the season last week. I had them by the dozens when the pond was bigger. Perhaps they could go out in the deer pasture? I don't blame you, I wouldn't touch them either!

katina said...

And here one of my coworkers always brings in a few to keep as office pets...

I haven't found any hornworms yet. I'm currently having problems with spider mites (always the spider mites), and rolly pollies--they just seem to love the watermelon plants, and I realize they only eat dead leaf matter but it seems like they eat the dead stuff until it gets to the live stuff, wait for the live stuff to die off a bit, and then eat that. repeat until the leaf is gone.

Cynthia said...

I feel your pain Diana. I first got introduced to them last year (first time gardening) and I had my face close to the tomato leaves looking at the little yellow tomatoes and something moved like it wanted to bite me and green stuff started coming out. I literally jumped out of my skin and started running and screaming. My husband came out and he saw what I saw and said What the... Eventually he became my catepillar remover. I know it is wrong, but we throw the catepillars over the fence. I know that this is all part of gardening, but just the same FREAK me out. I can only imagine what is out there that I have not seen. Always remember, don't put your face to close to the tomato plants or you will get a surprise.

tagskie said...

hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day!

LindaCTG said...

Yes, it's always that compromise between plants and wildlife. Sounds like you had an invasion, though. If you have some honeysuckle around, they like to eat that too.

RBell said...

Besides fungus (evil oxalis-eating rust), my primary garden pest at present is mealy bugs - the little white fuzzy hoppers are everywhere!

No hornworms at present on my single tomato plant (though from the postings I've read, by the time I discover it, I likely will no longer have a tomato plant!)

Meredith said...

I've been tossing the tomato hookworms into the birdfeeder tray -- the birds have loved them!

Currently my foe is grasshoppers. They are everywhere!