Thursday, May 17, 2012

battle of the bug

Every year we plant about 100 tomato plants for our 40 member CSA. Homer got a super jump on the season and reduced our electric bill by starting lots of seedlings in December in a cold frame in the hoophouse. Now, in mid-May, we have green tomatoes already. We are so excited to find this beauty and see flowers on many more plants! We grow 10 different varieties for a real range of taste, texture and color.

Something else loves tomatoes. The tomato horn worm. A brilliant green worm about the size of my thumb, it can eat the top off a tomato plant before our eyes can see it.

This is the moth that lays those horn worms. It was found on a tomato plant yesterday, and promptly fed to the chickens. We would be more frightened of the horn worm, but know when we miss them the parasitic wasp finds it, lays eggs in it, and the baby wasps eat it from the inside out. We just love the checks and balances of the animal kingdom. And a fresh, vine ripened, chemical free open pollinated tomato.

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