Yesterday I was surveying my “septic tank garden” when I noticed a small twig in the midst one of my young tomato plant pots. “Hmmmm…” I wondered. “Why is there a twig in that pot? And, WHY is there a little green worm at the end of it????” I quickly came to the realization that said twig had previously been a happy young tomato plant. Moreover, the green nasty at the end of the plant had made a fine lunch of it. “Get rid of it!” I promptly asked Nick (I don’t like slugs, worms or any other creepy crawly things). He kindly obliged and I headed up to research the now dead invader.
I quickly identified the tomato killer: The infamous Tomato Hornworm. They love to eat tomato, eggplant and pepper plants (check, check and check). Couldn’t have found a nicer septic tank garden to infest then! This morning, I promptly inspected all my plants. It helps to know that they hide under the leaves, almost perfectly camouflaged (unless they’ve managed to eat the entire plant, in which case they stand out quite a bit). Indeed, I found at least one nasty greenie on each tomato plant. My outrage stronger than my gross factor, I quickly removed the critters who had already done a good amount of leaf chomping (though fortunately nothing close the the “twig formerly known as plant” devastation) and then…I squashed them!
Sometimes slightly obsessive attention to one’s plants pays off: From my research it appears that I caught these larvae quite early. They were less than an inch long. They grow to be as long as 5 inches! I tell you, I find one that big, Nick’s back on squashing duty! 🙂