For a couple of weeks, I've been meaning to go out and pull up the dead plants, put some compost down and clean everything up for its long winter nap. Which isn't so long here in the Deep South, but a nap is a nap - There's no such thing as a bad one. And now I'm putting myself to sleep.
Well, I looked out at my supposedly dead tomato plants - they just couldn't take the massive heat wave, and gave up all attempts around the TWELFTH straight day of 100+ degree heat we had in August - anyway, I look out and my tomato plants have flowers and tomatoes all over them! I have an entire new crop of tomatoes growing!
So I raced outside with my gardening soul singing songs of joy and dreaming dreams of more red sauce. And maybe this time I would practice some self-control and freeze some for the winter. But first I really figred I should get rid of all the dead stuff. The squash vines were dead, so I pulled them up. And then I started working on the dead leaves and vines in the middle of the tomato plants. And I reached in and came face to face with a caterpillar. A very green caterpillar. Which kind of worried me, because now I knew why the leaves were half eaten on that little section. And then as I reached to grab a dead leaf, I saw this on the back of another one:
|From What's In My ...|
I didn't know what it was, but I was pretty sure that when unidentified caterpillars - that have been eating my plants - take up their long winter nap on the back of my leaves, it's only because of the proximity to the food source. And the last thing I want is a breeding mass of these critters.
So I frantically ran inside, looked up the information and discovered I have tomato hornworms. Or at least that's what think I have. And to prove that a Freddy Kreuger nightmare was in the making in my little plot of dirt, I found out that they may or may not have laid their eggs in the dirt around the plants. So I have to get rid of my tomato plants, and my dreams of chunky, garlicy, yummy red sauce have now disappeared. But I DID harvest the green tomatoes that were there. Now I just have to figure out what to do with them. (That's me begging for ideas, y'all).
On a happier note, the bell pepper plants that produced the bountiful harvest of ONE RED PEPPER this summer have now decided to go crazy as well. I have about 5 peppers growing; three of them are about 5 inches long. Now I just have to be patient and let them turn red before I rip them off the plants and devour them.
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