July 09, 2008


My mother and I planted a vegetable garden while she was here, and I had four thriving, big tomato plants on the back fence. I go out there tonight and find this.


Every second plant was stripped completely bare. No leaves. Huh? I move in for a closer look.


Two of the fattest, grossest caterpillars took up residence in my garden. Both totally engorged with an entire tomato plant. They were about four inches long and as thick around as a Tootsie Roll.


Naturally, I pried them off with a spatula and dumped them over the fence into the neighbor's yard. They don't have anything planted in their yard anyway.

I'm bad.

Posted by Sarah at July 9, 2008 08:39 PM | TrackBack

I tried growing basil and parsley on my porch once. The aphids did in the basil and I found a stray killen sitting smack dab in the middle of the parsley. God only knows what else it did in that pot.

But the kitten was at least cuter than your caterpillar.

Posted by: Jacki at July 9, 2008 09:35 PM

Yeah...the perils of gardening. I bought six very
young,but expensive clematis plants. I looked out
my window one fine evening,and there,in the June
moonlight,two rabbits were sitting cozily side by
side munching away.

They got ALL six. I ranted and raved on the phone
to my sister but she very calmly said "Well,
it's CLEARLY the bunnies wedding anniversary..are
you really going to begrudge them a night away from their 14 children?"

Well...okay...if you are going to put THAT spin
on it..

Posted by: MaryIndiana at July 9, 2008 11:07 PM

It's a tomato hornworm and they can strip a plant almost overnight. I hope they don't find their way back to your plants. There are lot's of ways to get rid of them


Fresh garden tomatoes are worth the hassle!

Posted by: Mary*Ann at July 9, 2008 11:53 PM

Growing up it used to be a contest to see who could find the tomato worm first. Sometimes it was quite a challange, and if you are very quiet sometimes you can hear them chomping away. We would usually torture them once we found them.

Posted by: Kellee at July 10, 2008 08:19 AM

To use a very old SNL phrase, "It's always something!" Tomato hornworms should be smashed immediately, they will turn into moths that come back, lay more eggs, make more worms. An endless cycle.I don't have any here, don't need them. We have leaf cutter ants that come overnight and do the job instead of them. Went out this morning with coffee cup in hand, only to find pepper plants stripped. They will even take the little peppers. They take them to their nests to plant their fungus gardens! The only plants they haven't taken at one time is mother of million kalanchoe plant, one I detest and is a pest! and cacti. They don't eat anything but the flower stems of aloe vera, so I never get to see them bloom. They love flower buds. So do the deer.
So I'm turning this into a rant. Oh well.
Sarah, next time you see those critters smash them!!

Posted by: Ruth H at July 10, 2008 08:43 AM

Oh, Ruth...they were SO fat; it grosses me out to think of smashing such a fat bug. There would be smashed bug everywhere! Ewwww.

Posted by: Sarah at July 10, 2008 09:32 AM

Yeah I don't squish either. That's what RAID is for. Sorry about your tomato's. You could still start over with cherry tomato's and get some fruit.

Posted by: Mare at July 10, 2008 10:08 AM

Yep, Ruth, remember how D. would smash them for me when he was young. Give the kid a brick and he was lethal! ;0)

Posted by: tt at July 10, 2008 11:05 AM

I took a bunch of pictures of my beautiful, ruby-red strawberries, which I protected with bird netting last year and thought would protect them this year.

I walked out the door the very next day, and they were ALL GONE. I think some critters (deer? raccoons?) came and got 'em. :( Oh well, at least I got pictures!

Posted by: Deltasierra at July 10, 2008 05:35 PM

I hesitated to tell you the easiest way to "terminate" the hornworms...pair of scissors...cut them in half...not as messy as squashing (and truth be told I don't look when I do it)

Posted by: Mary*Ann at July 11, 2008 12:23 AM

Well, a jar of water works too, just put them in and hide it so you don't have to see it. Just don't let them live. I don't like to smash them directly either, put them under the mulch and step on them, that works. They are bio-degradable! ;D

Posted by: Ruth at July 11, 2008 10:29 AM

My dad used to feed them to our (very small) dog. I watched her eat one once and nearly threw up. I thought for sure she was going to choke on that huge, thick, squishy thing. Yuck.

Posted by: Ivy at July 11, 2008 12:42 PM