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. Â Today I was out picking the last week’s crop, and (while picking) noticed these ominous signs:
Oops! Â Giant caterpillar poop (technically known as “frass”), about 3/16″ wide by 1/4″ long, near a tomato plant. Â 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. Â Then I saw a caterpillar poop in the nearby pepper plant. Â Aha! Â 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. Â Mike (who thinks Mr. Hornworm is way cool) is going to take the caterpillar into work, and feed it tomato leaves until it pupates. Â 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. Â (Crickets and mealworms = high-fat, high-chitin junk food. Â Yummy caterpillars = good-quality, high-protein food. Â Buy some for your chameleon today!) Â So I’m glad Mike is taking it to work – I would have felt bad about squishing him. Â This way the hornworm can live, and as long as Mike doesn’t release the resulting moth near our tomatoes, all will be well. Â (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. Â I figure I can either use my table loom for the samples, or borrow/rent a loom for the occasion.