Mike and I have a little patio garden, and, as always, our single Sungold tomato plant devours the patio and churns out more cherry tomatoes than we can keep up with. Today I was out picking the last week’s crop, and (while picking) noticed these ominous signs:
Oops! Giant caterpillar poop (technically known as “frass”), about 3/16″ wide by 1/4″ long, near a tomato plant. There’s only one thing it could be: the dreaded tomato hornworm, which can lay waste to a tomato garden in days.
I looked around the plant for quite awhile without seeing him. Then I saw a caterpillar poop in the nearby pepper plant. Aha! There he was, Mr. Hornworm, sitting on a pepper branch and looking actually quite handsome:
We put him (or her? impossible to tell!) into a half-gallon mason jar, with some window screening on top. Mike (who thinks Mr. Hornworm is way cool) is going to take the caterpillar into work, and feed it tomato leaves until it pupates. From its size, it should be pretty close to pupation; it’s already big enough to eat New York!
I must confess that, though hornworms are a tomato scourge, I have a soft spot for them: they are downright beautiful critters, and my ex and I bred them, long, long, ago, as chameleon chow. (Crickets and mealworms = high-fat, high-chitin junk food. Yummy caterpillars = good-quality, high-protein food. Buy some for your chameleon today!) So I’m glad Mike is taking it to work – I would have felt bad about squishing him. This way the hornworm can live, and as long as Mike doesn’t release the resulting moth near our tomatoes, all will be well. (Hopefully no one is trying to grow tomatoes in the industrial park where Mike works!)
And, because they are so beautiful, a shot of the tomatoes themselves:
In weaving news, I’ve decided to continue winding on the 37-yard warp: it’s going to take me at least a week or two to write the article and design the samples, not to mention having to order the yarn, and I don’t want to delay that long. I figure I can either use my table loom for the samples, or borrow/rent a loom for the occasion.