Friday, July 15, 2016

Hungry Horn in the Garden

Wendigo is growing so fast.  It seems like an inch per day, at least.  When we first got her she barely had any teeth poking through her gums, and now she has pearly whites.  Her tail is twice as long, in just two weeks!  I'm not sure how much her fur will change, but right now, it doesn't shed, and she dries in minutes after she gets wet.  It must be very warm though, because she does not like to be in the sun on these hot days, and spends most of her time sleeping in the shade.  And growing!

Wendi and I were out inspecting the garden, when I realized something had eaten parts of three of the tomato plants.  One of them had been trimmed to half it's leaves!

Whatever it was even munched on the green tomatoes!  Ack!  I couldn't find any tracks in the mud, or any holes in the fence.  I was beginning to think it must have been a nimble deer who jumped the fence to munch the plants when I spotted the culprit.  

There it is!  See it, it's a giant green tobacco horn worm.  How could just a single worm do so much damage before I noticed?!  As I watched, it stuffed it's face with tomato leaves (I could hear it munching!) and added a manure pellet to a big mound of worm manure under it's body.  Oh no, it's got to go! 

I hesitated to kill it though, because it was such a neat looking worm.  And so big I felt like I could look it in the eye.  

When I looked closer at it's face and six little pointy arms, it reminded me of the predator from the movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Scary.  

I asked google about it, and found out that the adult is a nice looking brown and gold moth.  Since this worm has seven white stripes outlined with black, it's called a tobacco horn worm instead of the tomato horn worm, although they both like plants in the tobacco and tomato family.  

Look at all those neat fake eye spots along it's sides.  They look like tiny human eyes.  And the horn is actually on it's rear end, not it's head, which is misleading.  Tricky worm.  I decided I didn't want it's voracious descendants to visit my garden either, so he went in the bucket of sudsy water that I use to drown Japanese beetles plucked from the fruit trees.  Google said horn worms can be toxic if eaten, so I didn't offer it to the chickens.    

If you are like Brandon, when you look at the garden you will see only tall grass edges and ugly old carpet.  But, if you can get past those eyesores, you might notice there are things growing in there.  Like little corn plants.  

And pumpkins!

Lot's of sunflowers.  They turn their faces to the sun, so depending on the time of day, they are facing different directions. 

I didn't thin all of the rows right away, and I think the crowded ones have more bug holes than those with a little wiggle room.  

These little black bugs (scarabs?) may be the culprits.  I noticed lots of giant red ants running patrols on the sunflowers, so I haven't interfered.   Hopefully the ants are on my side.  

Amidst the overgrown potato and onion patch, are these long melon vines.  The yellow flowers open in the morning, and are closed tight by the evening.  How does your garden grow?

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