Gardeners out there....

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Fran, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    I have beautiful healthy tomato plants and large tomatoes but I have just gotten some big green, fat cabbage caterpillers on them and they are voracious eaters. I removed 3 manually. Any suggestions of how to protect the plants without spraying stuff that may grow my family a third eye or some other mutant anomaly?
     
  2. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    In the past I have used a dish soap/water mixture in a large spray bottle. I sprayed that on my plants - most bugs usually can't get a grip on the plant due to the sliminess of the mixture and just slide off.

    I know some folks swear by murphy's oil soap mixed with water, but I just used plan dish soap. You want the mixture to be slimy. And they sell a lot of organic inhibitors these days at good garden centers as well.
     
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Hand-picking the caterpillars is really the best way, unfortunately. Maybe there are some neighbor kids who you could "employ" to do the job. Say, 25 cents for each one they collect? And they get to keep the bug!

    We had a roadrunner one year that took care of the problem for us :) I would watch it perched on the tomato stake staring intently at the plants, then it would suddenly dart down and come up with a fat, juicy caterpillar!
     
  4. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Boy, those must be California rates! I used to pay the boys a nickel. Hand picking is the way to go.
     
  5. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    You are wise women. Everything I have read says either soapy water or hand picking them. I will get great pleasure putting those fat, nasty things in the bird feeder. : )
     
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    ORRRR... you could get some chickens...
     
  7. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    We call them tomato horn worms around here. They are big and nasty but usually you don't get too many. I'm in the hand-picking group. They're a little hard to see but you can find them easily by looking for the worm droppings on the ground.
     
  8. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Mutt, I must say I don't know what worm droppings look like and these are hard to see only because of their color. They are very very fat and about 3 in long.
    You will have to tell me what worm droppings look like.

    GVCmom, no chickens but someday there will be fainting goats and a miniature donkey. : )
     
  9. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    If it is tomato hornworms, the droppings are dark and VERY LARGE. They look like pieces of black dirt, but in clumps on the ground. They definitely stand out from whatever else is there. Gee, who'd think I'd be posting about worm poop.:tongue:
     
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Sometimes you'll find droppings on the larger leaves below wherever the worms are feeding (and chewed up leaves and stems above the droppings!) They look like rough pellets. Google "tomato worm poop" and go to the images tab and you'll see examples :D
     
  11. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    :rofl: who would have thought that a question about garden insects would have me googling worm poop. Made my day.
     
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