Thursday, August 19, 2010


It's always fun to show off what goes well in the garden--
like these edamame-- or what we think will go well like the amish paste tomatoes below:
But at this time of year, it seems only fair to talk about what isn't going well. And that has all to do with pests. I have just about given up on the squash and zucchini as most of the plants have been devastated by squash vine borers with a few other (potato?) bugs adding insult to injury. Early in the season I was able to squish most of the bugs by hand, but now there are too many and I can't get at the ones inside the stems (I think I'll try injecting Bt with a hypodermic needle next year).

Bean beetles attacked the edamame tho' they didn't get most of the crop. The most interesting pests this year, however, were these guys:
Longtime gardeners may recognize these as tobacco hornworms. If they weren't so devastating in how quickly they can strip a plant of its leaves, they'd be worth keeping around for pure entertainment value. I found their markings quite beautiful--even their strangely geometric poop (a bit like a bright green grenade) was interesting when fresh--until I saw how much of my already blight-stressed tomato plants they had eaten. The little buggers had even gnawed on a few tomatoes. Unforgiveable. These two were put out for birds to eat after I snapped a few more pix.
Every other week since then, I've found one or two on the tomatoes. Death has been swift but messy. Too big to squish without squeamishness, I have opted for a quick snip with the kitchen shears. Then, this lady showed up:
Well, I assume it's a she since it appears to be covered in eggs. I couldn't risk all those future tomato munchers being released into the world, so after their photo-op, everyone got dunked in the jar of alcohol normally reserved for ticks that hitch a ride on us or the dogs. (Note: I've just been informed that these were not hornworm eggs but rather the cocoons of a parasitic wasp. I should not have killed them--they're a beneficial. Next time I'll know to let the wasps develop so they can kill more hornworms).

Although this last pest has not really been an issue for us, I couldn't resist this perennial problem child when I saw it newly-emerged on Old Creaky:


  1. You make me feel so much better about our tomatoes, which have some kind of funk again this year. I wish you would get up here and do some of this vigorous posting on my blog (!)...

  2. Hey, H2! You brought in a ringer for your blog so you don't really need me. That said, I've been thinking we need to collaborate on something--maybe a book. How's about Farm Your Way to a Fitter You!?! We could get Oprah and Obama (Mrs.) to promote it.

  3. Inspired idea, Alison. I'm getting ready to walk to the farmers market and lug home some bicep-building bags of good food.