Our Tomatoes Were Ambushed!

I was out in the garden on Monday night and picked some gorgeous orange cherry tomatoes for supper. So then last night Tomato Hornwormon my way out the door and past the garden to the peach tree something caught my eye…..the LACK of tomato plants! Well, technically they are still there – what was missing was all of the leaves at the top of the plants. The GIANT tomato hornworms were back with a vengeance. Last year they destroyed my tomato plants but this year I was prepared.

The moment I saw them I ran back to the barn and grabbed a bucket and poured an inch of gasoline in it. I armed myself with a pair of garden gloves and went out to attack and defend my garden.

huge green horn tomato worm

We (luckily my family joined me) all plucked these HUGE juicy caterpillars off of the tomato plants and dropped them into the bucket. They die almost instantly from drowning and if that doesn’t get them the fumes from the gas do.  Harsh? Perhaps. As a gardener, I will defend my food and as I know from experience, if you do not jump on these guys right away, they multiply very quickly. Yes, they eventually will go away, but so will your tomatoes.

drowning hornworms

picking hornworms

Since that night (oh, and by the way, we picked over 35 off the plants that first night) we have all been on bug watch. Each night we find less and less and my tomato plants look like they will bounce back and be fine. I did have to toss a lot of half-eaten ripe tomatoes to the chickens but they were kind of happy about that. For now, we are watching and picking off any hornworms that we see. Hopefully we got ahead of their cycle and can enjoy our tomatoes all to ourselves again.

checking for hornworms

This blog post was shared at: From the Farm Blog Hop

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4 responses to “Our Tomatoes Were Ambushed!”

  1. Sharon says :

    I wonder what makes the hornworms really bad one year and not the next. A couple of years ago, it seemed I had them all the time (though not nearly as bad as yours), and then in the two years since I haven’t seen a one. I would like to know the secret so I can keep repeating it!

  2. Judy @ GrandparentsPlus2 says :

    35 – wow, that’s a lot. I’ve seen some in previous years but not that many. This year blight and blossom end rot are getting a lot of ours. The plants are sticks barely supporting what few tomatoes we have. It’s ugly, but the tomatoes that ripen taste good. 🙂

    • vermontfarmheart says :

      It might be an area thing – our neighbors tomatoes were stripped of leaves around the same time this week. They must have all hatched at the same time on our road! I have heard a few other people having trouble with blight this year because of all the rain. Seems like a bad year for tomatoes. Just makes you appreciate the few you do get even more!

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