The pests of summer

With plentiful rain and bountiful crops come…pests. Yes, they’ve arrived!

Tomato hornworm - NC Garden Gals

Tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata)

I’ve been terrified of these squishy green moth larvae since I first discovered them on a tomato plant two years ago. But when I discovered them on this year’s crop, at least I knew what to do – put on some gloves, get a jar of soapy water, and pluck ’em off one by one (so far I’ve only found two). Their camouflage mechanism is quite impressive and they can do some crazy damage to tomato foliage, so keep your eye out! (I’ve also heard neem oil will repel them).

Where hornworms go to die - NC Garden Gals

Where hornworms go to die – a jar full of soapy water.

Also spotted in the garden: a few signs of yellowing leaves on both the tomatoes and zucchini, and a gang of millipedes chewing on the end of a zucchini (solution: prop fruits off the soil with cardboard so they don’t rot!) Unseen but suspected: birds? or small mammals? have been taking bites out of green tomatoes, especially the cherry and Grushovka varieties.

Bite out of tomato - NC Garden Gals

Who’s the culprit? Stay tuned…

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