Monday, June 15, 2009

My Own Personal B Rate Horror Movie

So I'm not much of a gardener. I have very little experience.

I have lofty hopes and try. But not real hard. The whole allergy things pretty much beats it out of me. There's nothing like breaking out in rashes and hives when you brush up against or touch a plant on purpose.

In Nebraska I did grow some tomatoes. If you want to call it that. I literally pulled up some flower beds and put tomato plants from Lowe's in the ground...and walked away. We had automatic sprinklers so I didn't even have to water.

When the tomatoes were red...we picked them and ate them. And they were great.

So I'm a big time gardener this year. Two plus gardens. One in my yard, on my patio and then the big garden I'm helping with.

And all of a sudden my tomatoes are dying. What???? I could tell something was eating them...but it took a few days to figure out what.
See, there's this thing called a Tomato Hornworm.
And they can eat a plant overnight. Just when the tomatoes are beginning to turn. The are hungry!

I know I need to pick these things off. And the first 2 days it wasn't a big deal as they were small. Small enough that you didn't really see the horn part.
But now they are big enough that the horn is THE thing I see.

So I run to the internets to find out WHAT they are and what to do about them. You see, although I am not bug squeamish....anything that looks like a stinger gets immediate respect. It has to do with that epi-pen I have to carry. I will not willing grab anything that looks like it can sting.
Luckily...they sell caterpillar tongs to grab them with. Okay - so I'm too cheap to buy something like this, but at least it gave me an idea. Yep. Kabob sticks. The pointy ones. Why pinch a ugly green caterpillar when you can spear it. (I'll spare you a picture.)

How come I never saw these in Nebraska? Or maybe its that whole "everything is bigger is Texas" thing? Don't know.

What I do know is that for the first time in my life I am wishing for a backyard full of wasps. The kind that do this....
See, you don't even kill these ones. You let those wasp babies hatch and eat all those other nasty looking worms. HAH!! Take that!

Until that happens...I still have to hand pick. They are too big for the natural bacteria I could have used. And the whole point of growing our own (besides money) is to stay organic.

So now I obsessively sneak out back to check for the worms, several times a day.

Not an easy task. They hide underneath the leaves since they don't like the sun. And they are the same color as the plant.

Autumn the worm spearer. Yep. That's me.


  1. Oh, Autumn, I got suck a kick out this, I'm still giggling. I can see you sneaking up on those little boogers, your spear at ready, what a hoot. This made my morning.


  2. I hope the "worm spearing" gets easier. And i'd go with the whole
    "everything is bigger in Texas" thing! That would be why you didn't notice in Nebraska!

    P.S. Yes, I had to wait until you came to "crack my egg"

  3. Those tomato worms are NASTY. We get them in Kansas. And I let my husband obliterate them with a blow torch. Because I get chills on top of my head just looking at your pictures.

  4. That takes all the fun out of it. Now I'm itchy just from looking at those!

  5. You crack me up. Or totally gross me out. Wait - that was the worms. Thank goodness for spears. Or tongs. Or chopsticks. Whatever works.

  6. Yes, I have to say the mental picture of you sneaking up on some unsuspecting caterpillars armed with a pair of chopsticks makes me smile. Hopefully, you'll scare the rest of them off and they'll go find someone else's garden to take over. Good luck.

  7. I think I may have nightmares tonight... those things look HUGE!
    I don't take my gardening very seriously, but I will have to do a creature check tomorrow, just as a precaution.
    Luckily, I have small boys living with me - they would think it was a bit of heaven to pull giant bugs off plants and torture them!

  8. EWWWWWWWWWWWWW! I am so grossed out!

  9. Oh, Autumn, I got suck a kick out this, I'm still giggling. I can see you sneaking up on those little boogers, your spear at ready, what a hoot. This made my morning.