I caught it!

A few days ago I noticed some of the lower leaves were missing on one of the tomato plants.  At first I thought the chickens had been snacking on them.

tomato-hornwormThat was until yesterday, when the top leaves were gone.  Completely gone.  I knew that a hornworm was responsible.  So, the search was on, but to no avail.  Mr. T. Hornworm was nowhere to be found.

Until 7 am this morning when I caught him eating the remaining side stalks of the very same plant.  Of course, I had to snap a few pictures, and share because I know y’all are anxious to see a photo.  Of course, I had to snip the stalk with Mr. Tomato Hornworm safely attached, still snacking.  And of course, I had to see if the chickens wanted to have a snack.

When I left them, they were still taunting it and pecking at it.  Because of his size, I don’t think they will eat the worm.

Gardening Frustration

I stood there this morning, after a heavy sigh, my head down, annoyed, angry and profoundly stumped.  In a way I knew this  may be the outcome.  Why the multitude of emotion?  Because once again my arch nemeses, the Evil Cabbage Looper  (or cabbage worm) has struck again!  Damn things won’t go away!

This is what my beautiful broccoli looked like 2 weeks ago.

broccoli

Pow! Almost overnight, a near total destruction.  This was taken this morning. *sigh*  After some google-ing, some people have had results with a flour-cayenne pepper mix.   So, that’s what I did.after-cabbage-worms

What would have been a nice head of cauliflower.  It is a complete wash.

eaten-cauliflower The flour mixture was all well and good.  Then bam!   Another pest problem.  Fire Ants.  So, from one problem to another.  Any ideas of what I should do now?  I am tapped out today, and it’s only 10:30 am.  ants

 I have walked away this morning with a new-found respect for the organic farmers across America.  No wonder the price of organic produce is expensive.  It’s not because of the “fad”, it’s because growing food without the use of pesticides is hard work.  Sure, it would be very easy to just sprinkle and spray Seven Dust all over the place.  But then Kate (or I) would not be able to go out and snipe of the tops of the broccoli or onions and eat them, which she is notorious of doing.  Sure, we could come inside and wash them real good before hand.  Honestly, who wants to eat food with poison on it!

 

a Late garden update – May 2013

I snapped these pictures a few weeks ago, but with school being out and keeping the Kiddos occupied, I kinda forgot about uploading them.  Oops.  So, without further ado…

The first cucumber flower.  I think I see pickles for Nate in the near future.

cucumber-flower

The beautiful sunflowers that were standing so tall are now droopy.  I thought they needed more water.  They were still sagging.  After some research, turns out they are about three weeks ready for harvest.droopy-sunflowerWe were a few days away from somebody snacking on a strawberry.  The bad news, since the flower-pot it’s in is on the ground away from other stuff, it didn’t get picked until it was very ripe.  The good news…there are two more growing. Woo-hoo, that 2 more than last year!

strawberryThe snow peas got picked later that day.  I am sure they would have been good, but they never got eaten.  That’s a sad story for another day.

sweet-peaLook! Our first tomatoes of the year.  I forgot wich ones they were supposed to be, turns out permanent marker doesn’t last long on cinder block.  Then, my memory kicked in and I remembered, Cherry Tomato.  I picked them a few days ago so they could ripen inside.  Maybe by not letting them ripen on the vine I may get more fruit?

tomato-1

Attack of the annoying ants and other bugs

Shortly before the sunflowers began to bloom, just as they were beginning to form little buds, we noticed some black spots on the leaves.  Those “black spots” turned out to be those very annoying black ants.  You know the ones, sugar ants, that can somehow find a way through a microscopic crack in the floor to make their way to your pantry.  They were just hanging out.  I guess have an ant reunion on the underside of the leaves.  The ants even invited other leafy-looking bugs.  I think those may have been aphids, but I’m no bug expert.

sunflower-bugs-1

From the research that I spent doing on sugar ants, they were “farming” the aphids.  See, the ants collect secretions made by plant hungry bugs, such as aphids.  I know, gross right?  At any rate, those things had to go hang and farm else where.  I found some organic insecticide soap, but I was not going to pay the price that was on the tag.  So, I went the DIY route.sunflower-bugs-2

After a few minutes on the world-wide web, I found the solution I was looking for.  I mean really, why pay for a bottle of soap mixed with water?  It just didn’t make sense.   All you need is a gentle soap, such as baby shampoo, water, and an empty spray bottle.   The uses really are limitless with baby shampoo.  In fact, since I clean my windows with it, I already had a bottle mixed up.  I was already one step closer to getting rid of this gross annoyance.

Step 2:  With the nozzle set to jet, give those suckers a good spray with the soap mixture.   There is a dark enjoyment to killing bugs I think.  After I was finished with my fun time, I let the soap do it’s thing while I fooled around with the tangle mess of a water hose.  It was like Christmas lights!  You can put them up nice and tidy, only to find them in a tangled pile.  How does that happen?  Ugh, very frustrating!  Any who.

Step 3:  With a super-duper spray nozzle attached, it’s time for more dark amusement as I got spray the dickens out of those plants.  Try not to let the soap set on the plants for too long.  The soap can actually burn the leaves.  That wouldn’t make for a very attractive garden, now would it?

sunflower-bugs-3It took a little work, but the aphids and their pals were gone.  That is until, last night.  I spotted one of those lone little aphids trying to hang out.  I suppose it got it’s invite was lost in the snail mail.  It’s gone now.  Yea!