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!

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