Sunday, August 2, 2009

Attack of the tomato horn worm and other horrors

Over the last week or so, I've noticed that some of my pepper plants have lost all their leaves. A couple of the plants have peppers on them, but no leaves. It is very odd. Here's a photo of what they look like (ignore all the weeds that have sprung up around them!):
Today I was outside inspecting my garden, and I noticed what at first looked like a leaf on the pepper plant. Then I realized that it was moving. It was a caterpillar, and it's clear that he was the one eating up all the leaves. (You can see him here; he's the pale-green thing on the main stem of the plant):
He has also munched on the peppers on these plants, and there are big holes in them. YUCK!! I guess those are going out in the yard waste too.

Oddly, he hasn't attacked all of my pepper plants. It looks like he's only feasting on a particular variety of pepper - the California Wonder variety. My Cubanelle pepper has not been attacked so far.

I read on the Internet that this is a "tomato horn worm," which makes me worry about my tomatoes. Up until now, they've been totally fine. Apparently these caterpillars attack peppers, tomatoes and eggplant, which makes sense because I think they're all in the same family of plants. Later, they become moth-like creatures that lay more eggs.

In other news, I made pesto yesterday from the basil in my garden. As I was making it, I remembered that I grew garlic in my garden this year ... except that it's no longer anywhere to be seen in my garden. I really don't know what happened to it. Last week, I pulled out the lettuce that I had planted next to it, but I didn't pull out any garlic. It's just completely gone. I don't know if I just didn't notice when the stalks dried up, and it's still buried in my garden, or if the animals dug it up and had a garlic feast.

Really, it's been a crappy gardening year. Too much rain. Then my cucumbers and zucchinis didn't come up (which has never happened to me before). Then the stupid caterpillars ate my peppers, just when I was getting psyched that the pepper plants had lots of flowers. And then the case of the missing garlic. Really, if my tomatoes weren't doing well, I think I would just turn over the whole garden and plant buckwheat for the rest of the year. Better luck next year.

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