Unwelcome guests

on Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Earlier this week I was going on about cute fuzzy little butts greeting me in my garden. Those are good things - the bumble bees, along with honeybees, wasps, flies, etc - are all helping to pollinate the flowers, which make many of the veggies we enjoy!

But not all visitors in my garden are welcome or appreciated. Something's been going around in the garden and nibbling on tomatoes, green beans, and more. Even after I've freshly topped off or mulched some areas of the garden, I'll find newly dug holes in the ground, such as this new one I found Sunday morning that I'm pretty sure wasn't there just a couple days before.

I wonder if that's home to the critter that's been finding all the tomatoes close to the vine, and snacking on them. What was really cross was finding this - a beautiful beefsteak tomato that got chewed into, and the proceeded to mold after all the rain Saturday night. Gross. Now just imagine what it's like when you're on the OTHER side of that tomato, think it's ready to be picked, grab it, and have your fingers squish into the backside of the fruit. Gross, hunh?

This is a disappoint year for pumpkins. Last year the garden was LOADED with them, and I had more than ever before. This year the cucumber beetles and squash bugs killed off most of the plants early on. I've got two pumpkins that I know of out there - that's it. And now one of them, still dark green and no where near close to being ripe, has been chewed on.

I'm very NOT happy about that! We'll just have to see if the pumpkin scars over, or if it rots instead. Bummer.

Also - when you're a gardener you can see a lot of poop - both what you bring into the garden (horse manure, chicken manure, worm castings, composted manure, etc), and what other animals leave for you in the garden. If you have rabbits, you might find signs of them in the form of a small pile of rabbit poop. And if you have tomato hornworms, odds are you'll either see chewed up tomato leaves and fruits OR caterpillar poop like below, before you actually see the well-disguised caterpillar.

Funky looking, aren't they!? What's odd is that these were scattered across the leaves of my eggplants and okra, but I'd swear that's tomato hornworm poop. And I've seen NO signs of their damage in the tomatoes. I hunted all around the eggplant and okra plants, but couldn't find any critters...perhaps a bird came along and snatched the offending critter already? Or, as in most cases with these caterpillars, it was sitting there right in front of my face and I didn't even notice it. They're sneaky like that!

Here you can see Eric over at Gardenfork.tv and some serious tomato hornworm damage in his garden, plus what a parasitized tomato hornworm looks like:

(Trust me, I'll know if you watched that video!)

Enhanced by Zemanta


Post a Comment