We, who tend gardens, whether for produce or aesthetics want only the best. The best plant selection and variety, and naturally resistant to disease and pests. It is truly a labor of love, wouldn’t you agree?
Last year our tomatoes were overrun by the tobacco hornworm. My neighbor pointed it out to me as I had never seen it before. Their coloring is so camouflaged I couldn’t see them. After she pointed it out to me I began looking for the “poop” first then training my eye up the stalk I would find the pesky thing. Since my neighbor grabbed it by her hand to pull it off so did I and oh how the chickens love these guys. If you are not familiar what hornworm poop looks like here is a shot.
After trailing the poop this is the pesky thing it belonged to and the damage it can do.
In picking up my copy of Greer’s Almanac I came upon a useful suggestion. That was to plant basil in between your tomatoes to deter this garden menace. Since we love basil and tomatoes that suggestion will prove very useful this year.
A side note: While you are in among the beautiful tomato plants this season don’t forget to rub the leaves between your hands and then on yourself to keep mosquitoes at bay.
To stay on the subject of “poop” we begin our planting season with “poop”-composted poop. In fact my mind is on “poop” all year round. Timing is everything. I am including an article I came upon which mentions the importance of timing in it’s application.
“Timing of Application: Compost should be spread in the spring or a month before planting to ensure maximum nutrient availability to the plants. This supplies nutrients for the upcoming growing season and minimizes the amount of time for potential losses before crop uptake. An alternative is to spread manure in the early fall. Avoid applying manure in winter since nutrients from the manure are more likely to be lost in erosion and runoff.
Horse manure composting contributes to the reduction of non-point source pollution from horse manure and results in a useful soil conditioner.
I hope you find the information here useful for the upcoming gardening season.
I am still on the quest as to what to do with these fire ant. If anyone has suggestions please pass them on. Presently, I am using dishsoap and vinegar in a spray. This is good for wasps as well.
Planting with Passion.