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Whitehurst diaries: Garden Journal/Tomato Hornworms
Tiny creatures are Gradyville gardeners' best friends. They incapacitate tomato hornworms, make use of their bodies for nurseries, incubating more wasps to control the tomatoc enemy>
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By Sharon Whitehurst
Jim and I love to share photos of our garden. The garden triumphs, that is.
The first juicy sweet strawberries, ripe tomatoes, a bucket full of sleek green cucumbers - these all make good copy, with a subtle bit of [pardonable] pride involved.
What we less often share are the gardening failures - who wants to see a view of a zuchini plant which has just succumbed to an invasion of vine borers.
I've learned more about tomato wilts and blights in the past few days than is good for my spirits. [Who knew there exists "early blight," "late blight" and, oh joy, "Southern Blight!"]
Matt and Gina have been here today working on the strip of garden they planted while waiting to move into their recently purchased house down the Old Gradyville Road.
Matt presented me with the creature I recognize as a tomato hornworm. After insisting that he squash the thing, I deserted the green beans waiting in the kitchen sink and did some research.
The following is by Timothy J. Gibb, Insect Diagnostician, Department of Entomology, Purdue University:
Finding a large green tomato hornworm caterpillar on your tomato plant is never a good sign unless, that is, it has small white capsules attached all over its back.It appears that while the tomato worm is bad, the attached eggs might just serve a useful function. -Sharon Whitehurst
This story was posted on 2011-07-06 14:47:35
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