Ask a Question forum: Little house of horrors?

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Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
"Not all who wander are lost."
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Ecscuba
Nov 29, 2014 9:37 AM CST
So for the last couple of weeks I've been hunting and picking those green catapillars off my tomatoes. Fewer and fewer now, maybe one every day or two. But this morning this was on one of the leaves. What in the world! The door was open a lot yesterday and I guess something flew in and did something??? Man, I'm about as green as the tomatoes at gardening.

This much weirdness in a little 6 x 8 greenhouse.

Thumb of 2014-11-29/Ecscuba/720888

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My passion is painting but gardening is running a close second.
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Nov 29, 2014 9:51 AM CST
I think you have a tomato hornworm. It's not flying in, but growing and getting fat eating your tomato vines. Google 'tomato hornworm' for some images. By the looks of the droppings, you have a nice sized one at work. In spite of getting large, they can be really difficult to see. Look up and down the stems and under the leaves. Use your hand for touch if you're not squeamish about touching them. They really blend in well.
Donald
Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
"Not all who wander are lost."
Region: Texas Composter Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Organic Gardener Hummingbirder
Herbs Garden Art Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Ecscuba
Nov 29, 2014 10:11 PM CST
Thank you NEEDRAIN.
[url=Www.carolmedfordart.com]Www.carolmedfordart.com[/url]
My passion is painting but gardening is running a close second.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Nov 29, 2014 11:14 PM CST
You can spray with BT (Bacillus thuringiensis -- or something like that Rolling my eyes. ), which will only target the caterpillars that are eating your tomatoes... if indeed it IS caterpillars... (I thought I had cabbage worms on my broccoli and it turned out to be slugs...)
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Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Nov 30, 2014 9:34 AM CST
It sure looks like the droppings of Tomato Hornworms. You could try the soapy water method to get the worms to show themselves: http://www.veggiegardener.com/tips-for-getting-rid-of-hornwo... and then you can pick them off and drown or squish them; or you might also want to consider an organic method of eradication like using a mixture of water, insecticidal soap and crushed or powdered hot cayenne pepper.
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Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
"Not all who wander are lost."
Region: Texas Composter Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Organic Gardener Hummingbirder
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Ecscuba
Nov 30, 2014 6:44 PM CST
Thanks for all the suggestions. I did move it out of the GH today and examined it carefully like NEEDRAIN suggested. Found two more of those green catapillars I've had problems with for a few weeks but nothing else. Hosed it off good and put some organic spray on. Will Followup with the soap recipe if that doesn't work. And then move to the stronger stuff Weedwhacker suggested if plantladyln solution doesn't work. I'm squeamish about those critters. Yuk!

Thanks for all the ideas!
Thank You! Thank You!
[url=Www.carolmedfordart.com]Www.carolmedfordart.com[/url]
My passion is painting but gardening is running a close second.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Nov 30, 2014 7:19 PM CST
I dislike harsh chemicals myself and refrain from using them. I'd try an organic or earth friendly remedy first ... especially for fruits and vegetables.
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Nov 30, 2014 9:05 PM CST
I'm not a strict "organic gardener" -- but isn't BT acceptable to those who are Confused
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Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
"Not all who wander are lost."
Region: Texas Composter Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Organic Gardener Hummingbirder
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Ecscuba
Nov 30, 2014 11:55 PM CST
WEEDWHACKER I believe you're right! I made an assumption, because I know so little about gardening. And I guess the name sounded like a chemical. I googled it and it's a naturally occurring substance that paralyzes the little green critters and they stop eating. Okay. I'm getting some! The little house of horrors will be no more.

Thank You!
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My passion is painting but gardening is running a close second.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Dec 1, 2014 8:50 AM CST
@Weedwhacker Yes indeed, BT is definitely an acceptable pest control! http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/how-to-use-...
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Name: Kate
Holmes Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Not all those who wander are lost.
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karmatree
Dec 1, 2014 3:36 PM CST
This isn't much of a solution, but I had to share....I learned a few days ago that caterpillar poop actually has a TERM....it's called "Frass." Isn't that great? Holy Frass!
"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy." - Rumer Godden
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
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porkpal
Dec 1, 2014 4:13 PM CST
Well, that makes it all okay then!
Porkpal
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Dec 1, 2014 5:00 PM CST
Yikes, Holy Frass indeed! Thanks for the new term @karmatree.

I usually pick the caterpillars off because they are fairly large. The BT I use on the cabbage plants because those caterpillars are sometimes too small for me to see.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Kate
Holmes Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
Not all those who wander are lost.
Bromeliad Cactus and Succulents Orchids Foliage Fan Organic Gardener Plant and/or Seed Trader
Region: Florida Tropicals Xeriscape
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karmatree
Dec 1, 2014 5:27 PM CST
Have you ever heard of parasitic wasps? I bought some and released them to help me with hornworms....my son and I discovered that we couldn't find a hornworm that WASN'T paratisized!!! The wasps lay the eggs on the juicy caterpillar, and when they hatch, they devour their caterpillar host....pretty gory. My son insisted on keeping one in a box to watch the process and it was like a horror film.
"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy." - Rumer Godden
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Dec 1, 2014 6:59 PM CST
Yes, if people only knew the "horrors" that are part of everyday mother nature, they wouldn't be so squeamish and judgmental about other things.
Name: Carol Texas
Central Texas (Zone 8b)
"Not all who wander are lost."
Region: Texas Composter Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents Organic Gardener Hummingbirder
Herbs Garden Art Dragonflies Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Ecscuba
Dec 11, 2014 7:41 PM CST
Whoohoo -- the tomato problems seem to be solved --- finally. No more catapillars. I used the bacillus stuff and they have disappeared. The leaves are coming back beautifully. The cherry tomatoes are starting to plump up and the small ones are finally starting to grow too. I have this plant in my smaller "patio greenhouse" -- the popup zippered one from Amazon. The plants in there are doing wonderful. I only use two 65 watt bulbs to heat it at night - so its getting more light than I would have thought the plants should have. Perhaps because it's incandescent it's working and not creating other problems. Don't know -- all I know is everything in there is doing great. Couple pics of some of the plants attached.
Thumb of 2014-12-12/Ecscuba/1f32cd


Thumb of 2014-12-12/Ecscuba/01dd3b

[url=Www.carolmedfordart.com]Www.carolmedfordart.com[/url]
My passion is painting but gardening is running a close second.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
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plantladylin
Dec 11, 2014 8:27 PM CST
Way to go Carol! Hurray! Hurray!
~ Eat, Sleep .... Play in the dirt ~

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