Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Pastime Filled With Peace and Squishy Things

Oh gardening. You are a pastime filled with peaceful contemplation of veggies.

Filled with satisfaction.

Filled with fright and garden mayhem and squishy things.

It is now the middle of July and we have been anticipating the first produce from the garden. Actually that isn’t quite true. We have been harvesting basil and lettuce like crazy but other than that there hasn’t been much. So imagine my joy at the thought that I was going to be able to pluck the first ripe Cherry Tomato off the vine on Monday morning and eat it right there in the garden. I had seen it on Saturday when I went out to weed and water. It was just barely ripe and needed a day or two more. And since I have no self control at all so much patience I decided that I would eat the lovely little red jewel of goodness on Monday morning.

I thought about it on Saturday.

I contemplated it on Sunday as I sat in the heat watching HHBL play baseball.

I drove swiftly to the garden on Monday, salivating and humming happily.

I walked down to the garden. Put down my tools and tripped happily over to the plant and……


Where is my cherry tomato?


The beautiful cherry tomatoes that are green. But not my beautiful little red globe of goodness. What happened? And then I looked down and saw this…….


WHAT!!!!! Someone had the unmitigated gal to eat half of it and then pitch the rest into the dirt. My first tomato of the season!!

I was seeing red and my blood pressure spiked a bit. But there were things to do and so I sucked up my righteous indignation and set to work watering.

And as I was watering I got to taking a closer look at some of the tomato plants. And saw this…….


Tomato plants that had been severely nibbled on.

And my blood pressure went up another notch. Especially as I got to looking at Colin’s plot next to ours and Phil and Tina’s plot across the path and no one had nibble damage over there.

What! Is there some kind of rabbit that only has an affinity for OUR plants and no one else’s. Has someone sent hit deer to make sure our tomatoes sleep with the worms?

And then I looked closer.

(cue the music from Psycho)



Do you see anything other than a tomato plant that has appearance issues?


Look a little bit closer……



That my friends is a Tomato Hornworm happily munching on the tomato plant. And this picture cannot possibly convey the size of that sucker. Not in the least.

I stood there in stunned and freaked out silence for a minute.

And then what did I do?

Why I threw down the hose and went to get my camera of course.

I have to take a PICTURE of that thing!

And then reality set it. I was going to actually have to DO something about it. LookLeap had the gall to be out of town that day and so I couldn’t foist the actually taking care of it part onto her. And I couldn’t leave the little marauder in place. We wouldn’t have any plants left if I did.

What to do. What to do.

And then it came to me that I was going to actually have to pull that thing off the plant…..with my fingers.

They are big. They are slightly marshmallowy when grasped. They DO NOT like to let go of their meal ticket. And when grasped they swing around and threaten you.

Or at least it seemed like it to me.

Icandothis Icandothis Icandothis Icandothis.

So I put on my gloves. Grasped him firmly by the middle. Pulled him off. Ran to the fence and chucked him over where he made a satisfying THUNK as he hit the hardened mud.

Big sigh of relief.

Back to watering the plants in peace……

And then…..

SHIT! (I am so sorry to have said that word but it just happened)


Another one merrily eating on a green tomato.

It was like being in the middle of Invasion of the Tomato Hornworms. Surely a 1950’s SciFi movie if there ever was one.


This is the damage the little putrid green stinker had accomplished before I took care of him.


He/She was also chucked over the fence because I just couldn’t imagine the ugliness that would have been squishing the thing with my gardening clog.

I still get nauseous thinking about it.

And then to add insult to injury I found a THIRD green garden turd on another plant. But thankfully that was the last one….

So far.

But for now we will be checking the plants every day, plucking off the worms if we find any and letting them take a “swim” in a jar of soapy water. And then we will be going out to the garden center for some “kill those ugly green tomato murderers” dust.

It is me or them.

And it is so going to be them.

I  need more coffee to calm my nerves.


  1. SHUDDER You are my hero! There is no way in creation I would have been able to pull one of those things off. I would have been hacking off the part of the plant it was on...but touching that....SHUDDER, nope not even in my wildest dreams could I have done that.

  2. Good reason to wear garden gloves. Uggh!

  3. I agree--thank GOODNESS for garden gloves. That ugly wormy thing is awful!! We're currently under attack by a RAT that has taken up residence in our backyard. Oh my word!! The shame is unbearable. I'm currently plotting ways to murder it. Please don't judge me, but I. want. it. dead.

  4. I think I threw up in my mouth a little. They just look so squishy. Did you look closely to see if any of them had a hookah?

  5. Thanks for the reminder - time to check our tomato plants here, too. We get the big guys but we also get some smaller very voracious green fellers that look just like they are part of the vine - same size and color as the upper stems. Oh, the never ending chores of a gardener!

  6. In my research today, I found out something that you should be glad didn't happen when you grabbed them: "One thing to watch for when handling hornworms, when you grab them they will turn around and eject a dark brown or black liquid on your hand."

    Something ELSE to be grossed out about! Yech!!

  7. Eewweee!!! You're so brave! I would've sic'ed my daughter on them. She collected them all in a bucket one year because she thought they were so cute.


Thank you SOOO much for commenting. We bloggers, of which I am such a minnow in such a big pond, live for our comments.