Wednesday, June 29, 2011

PANIC in the garden

In contrast to the joy I experienced yesterday as I saw the new growth in my garden, this morning I was met with a less-than-happy surprise as I went out to water my plants. Everything started out fine... more little red tomatoes ready for picking, a new cucumber, tons of blooms on the eggplants... but wait... what were those poop pellets on the eggplant leaves? And why were half of the leaves gone? My first thought was a rabbit... but it seemed strange to have poop up on the plant, not just around it. And then I walked over to my roma tomatoes... and saw this ghastly sight surrounding the container on the deck.

That, my friends, is a lot of poop. Forgive the gross details, but they were so strange looking, like little grenades... and I certainly didn't want whatever was leaving them behind to stick around. I stood up to inspect the plant and noticed that many of the top portions of the plants had been stripped off. No leaves. No tomatoes. No blooms. 

And then... the most horrific sight. I saw a 4-inch long giant caterpillar with gnarly horn camouflaged next to a half-eaten tomato. Cue the scary music.

I haven't really had to deal with garden pests yet, and had no idea how to get rid of my newfound enemy. So, I called upstairs to my rescue hero and made him come extract the evil worm from my precious plant.

After a little tugging, the monster finally let go. Bryan wisely suggested we search the rest of the plants to make sure he didn't have any brothers or sisters. And wouldn't you know... back on the eggplant leaves that had originally caught my attention was another behemoth caterpillar.

Fortunately, these two were the only ones we found on all the plants, though others do show signs of damage. I'm wondering if maybe a bird picked off some others. Hopefully this will have been our last battle with what we later learned was the Tomato Hornworm. I can't stand the thought of how many green tomatoes they've eaten already. All that hard work!

Have you had to deal with any unwanted visitors to your garden? Or maybe you're not the green thumb type, but some menace has gotten the better of a project you've worked hard on. Come on, share! Misery loves company, you know.


  1. Our entire batch of snow peas was destroyed by aphids. I'm not exactly sure what those are, husband did the research, but I was very disappointed! We replanted and are hoping for the best on round two!

  2. oh my gosh that's huge!! i can't believe those exist..and in virginia beach nonetheless! hope you don't see any more! -sydni

  3. Almost had my herbs devoured by caterpillars. I saw them immediately and made myself a butterfly box. They are getting bigger everyday and I get to choose which parts of my garden they can munch on. The kids can't wait to see them turn into beautiful black swallowtails (unlike your ugly bug that I'm pretty sure turns into a big moth looking thing). That thing is nuts!